A Sermon Delivered by ELIAS HICKS, at Byberry Friends Meeting, 8th day 12th month, 1824.
A Series of Extemporaneous Discourses, Delivered in the Several Meetings of the Society of Friends, in Philadelphia, Germantown, Abington, Byberry, Newtown, Falls, and Trenton, by Elias Hicks, A Minister in Said Society. Taken in Short Hand by M.T.C. Gould. Philadelphia: Published by Joseph & Edward Parker, 1825, pages 154-184.

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

My mind, silence we have been sitting silently together, has been led to a feeling view of the excellency of love; pure undefiled love; its dignity, its majesty, and its power. It stands over and above all: it is above all price;--it cannot be bought. If a man would give all the substance of his house for love; it would be utterly contemned. It was, no doubt, that which led the apostle, formerly, to address his brethren on this wise: "Let brotherly love continue."

Now, what is this brotherly love, my friends?--this true brotherly love? I apprehend we may see something of it, in a family of children, all of the same parent; why, it leads and instructs all, and keeps all in their proper allotment, under the direction of a pious and wise parent, who begins with his children when young, very young; .and if he is, as he ought to be, possessed of love,--his love to his tender offspring is equal to his love for his own soul. He begins with them, when they have a being, one after another; and he instructs them according to their age and preparation to receive instruction. And in a large family of brothers and sisters, there are many states, all somewhat different from each other, in point of age and acquirements; the parent begins with the first, and leads them on, so that they are prepared to receive a different kind of instruction, and greater knowledge and information from him, than the younger brothers and sisters.

But here, if brotherly love prevails, no envy gets in rather younger do not envy the elder, because the father informs them of higher pursuits, which are beyond the reach of the younger, and which they cannot understand. And as they keep in love and fellowship and in obedience to the father, they are all content with his disposing toward them. They attend individually to their own lessons of instruction. Their meals are all meted out, in proportion, and in agreement with, their several states and conditions; and yet there is a diversity in the whole, not all being capacitated alike for receiving instruction, or any thing else. The elder ones have their proper places in the family, all in regular gradation one above another.

The younger ones, seeing the elder advance beyond what they know and experience, are stimulated with a desire for this advanced state. As they keep in love to one another, it does not raise any envy or dislike, but all go on in harmony. Now, these are the effects, of pure undefiled love. This is that love, of which we read so much; the excellency of which is so highly desirable; and which is said to be stronger than death. Oh! its excellency, its dignity, and its power! What wonders it does in the creation! He that is the author of it, assigns of it, like a pious father dealing out to his children, to every one who is obedient to his manifested will, and agreeable to his state and condition to receive.

The elder will always be ahead in advancement, if he is equally obedient and faithful; and yet there is no envy, no strife: "for where envy and strife is, there is contention and every evil work." But in a well ordered family of children. these things cannot rise; for if they all stand in their proper places, envy hath no place; and strife is not known.

Now, my friends, there is nothing, I apprehend, that can keep families together; and preserve, harmony and concord, but love--all powerful love. However, as I observed, we read much of it, and of its power and sufficiency; yet we cannot gain it through that medium. All that we can read and hear about it, gives us no possession at all. There is but one way in which we can come to know it; and be blessed with it. We cannot purchase it with money: no, it is above ,all price. How are we then: obtain it, my beloved friends? There is but one only way--there never was but one only way--and that is faithfulness and submission the father's direction; faithfulness and submission to the father's discipline. For every prudent, godly, and wise parent has a discipline his family. If he has wisdom to direct, and his children are obedient to his will, all will be subject to this discipline; subject to this law of the family; each standing in his own proper allotment, without grudging, and without envy. So it will be, and so it must be, with our Heavenly Father's family; for all his children must be taught of him. "The Lord's children are all taught of the Lord, in righteousness are they established, and great is the peace of these children."

Here we have a view of the subject outwardly; but it gives us no possession at all. It is but the letter; it is not to be depended upon. We must come home within ourselves. We must come to know our hearts cleansed, purified, and emptied of every thing which is in opposition to this pure and holy principle. Now this is great work. It is a work of God upon the soul; for man cannot do it himself.

We have all fallen away from this pure, undefiled love. There is another who has got possession of our hearts; "the strong man armed." While he keeps the city, the goods are at peace: but when a stronger than he comes in and turns him out, then he call spoil his goods.

What is stronger than the strong man? Pure, undefiled love is stronger; for God is love, and they that dwell in love, dwell in God, and God in them. Now here we may see and behold what to do. We feel and know, in ourselves, that while we are in a natural state; while we are unredeemed and not saved, our hearts are filled with many guests,--many beloveds. Here divine love cannot enter and get a place of residence. If it for a moment breaks in upon us, and makes us feel its excellency; it is soon crowded out by these many beloveds. We turn away our attention, and lose the feelings which are sometimes witnessed, while it is shed abroad in our hearts. Now, here the divine visitor manifests himself, and shows the design of his coming; that it is in order to bind the strong mall in us, who has taken the seat of God and of love in our hearts ;--the man of sin and son of perdition; or man's strong will, iris strong and ungoverned passions, which have grown up in him, by indulging his propensities beyond truth and righteousness.

This is the strong man in the soul, which stands in direct opposition to God, and to pure undefiled love. It is selfish, and all it does is to gratify self: all it does while under the power of this man of sin and son of perdition, is to exalt itself, no matter how.

The great work which we have to do is, turn to the Lord, when he is pleased to call upon us, to plead with us, as no doubt he has times with all of us. We must endeavour to fee the mollifying influence of his love; we must listen and attend to this holy visitor. We must give way to him in our hearts, and permit him to dispossess the man of sin; for he has come to bind the strong man armed, and to turn him out to clear our hearts of all our strong passions, our cultivated desires, and selfish will. We should, therefore unite, with the operation of this divine principle of God in the soul. It is a living principle, it is the light and life, by which all the children of men are enlightened, and shown their condition. By it they discover the enmity that exists between this divine love, and the man of sin; for there is great enmity between the two seeds. One to bruise the head, and the other te bruise the heel. The man of sin and son of perdition cannot bruise the head; for the true head is the seed of God in the soul. He can do nothing but to undermine and deceive, by his working and deceptive power. Here every individual has a great work to do, under the leading and influence of this divine visitor, the light and love of God in our own souls. He comes in at times and seasons, when, in the cool of the day, the mind is a little retired from the continual exertions and buzzing about its own business. Whenever it can find the soul in a state of quiet, it comes in, and makes it sensible of its condition. Blessed be his great and glorious name; he is visiting all the children of men with this divine love; for God is love:--and by this principle he works upon the children of men. By it, he endeavours to bring them off from that which is against his nature

Man, in his fallen state, is a heap of hatred and opposition to divine love; and hatred and love cannot abide in the same place at the same time. And as we yield to temptations, evil of every description arises in the soul, and stands in direct opposition to God, and his law and light. The great work, therefore, is to turn inward, and wait in holy silence to feel the arising of the love light and love of God there; and in the same proportion as we yield, our love will begin to rise. It will break forth as the morning. Yea, if we are faithful to its divine influence, it will cause our darkness to be as the noon day, anti thus our hearts will become emptied. They will become as a vacuum, when the divine love and light shall have banished all these evils; and when all combustible matter shall be turned out of the soul. This cannot all be done at once. It is a gradual work. In the figure, the Israelites did not drive all out at once, lest the beasts of the field should prey upon them. So with the souls of the children of men. The Almighty enters and engages the soul, and turns its attention to itself. He shows it what is its first work. It is to do away this thing, that thing, or the other thing, which the light reveals to be inconsistent with the divine will. Here then, as we give up this enemy, to be slain and cast out, it leaves a vacuum in the soul, and this is filled with divine love; and so, as there is faithfulness to the divine light and manifestation in the soul, one enemy after another is overcome, and there is always something to fill up the place. The Lord in his loving kindness fills the vacuum, and enables us to go on from one degree of strength to another. Here we learn to know and understand what the apostle expresses of growing in grace; and in the saving knowledge of God our Saviour, step by step, like Jacob's ladder, by which we climb from earth to heaven. We are brought out of a state of wrath; a state in which envy and strife is, and contention, and every evil work.

We gradually rise out of these things; and as way is made, as I observed, evil is cast out, and good comes in and fills the vacuum, till the whole heart becomes renovated and renewed.

Here we come to witness the new birth. We read of a state in which man becomes a new creature; "he that is in Christ is a new creature." What is it to be in Christ? It is to come up into that righteousness which he came up into. He had to war with temptations as we have. One temptation after another assailed him; and as he overcame one, the divine light took place of it: just so it must be with us, if we are ever .made fit for the kingdom of heaven. We must come to know all these things removed, before we can enjoy that pure undefiled love, where no envy or strife is, no contention or evil work. We are willing that every one should stand in his own allotment.

Therefore, "let brotherly love continue." Let us be of the same mind to one another. How are we to be of the same mind? Does this mean that we are all to come to the same point? No. Because we are gradually advanced one above another. The elder brother has a mind to love the younger, when he is under the direction of the father; and therefore the younger has the same mind to love the elder, in proportion as he is in his proper allotment, under the direction of his great parent. So it should be in societies. There should be no discord, because the individuals are in different situations; they are all children growing up together; some have, of course, experienced a great deal, some very little; but this should not excite the envy of those who are so young as not to comprehend, what their elder brothers have attained to. That love, which is stronger than death, keeps down envy and strife, and every one in his proper allotment, is willing to let others do as he would have the do to him.

Now to the want of this spirit of love, in the minds of the children of men, may be attribute all the persecutions in the world, on a religious account. Because if men were willing to subject their wills to the divine will; if we are desirous of being the Lord's children, we must be obedient to his law. And therefore, as he has but one law, which is a law of righteousness in every soul, it is a law that is clear and perfect; so that every individual that attends to this inward law, has the will of God manifested to him. For no outward thing can manifest the will of God. If we believe what we read, and what we know in ourselves, nothing can teach us the things of God, but the spirit of God. Nothing can write God's law upon our hearts but the finger of God. There it is, then, that we must gather as the only place of safety; there the work is to be done. It is there, we find our enemy, if we have any, and there we must find our friend. But people too generally, looking outwardly to find God and in this outward looking they are told about a devil; some monstrous creature, some self-existing creature, that is terrible in power. Now, all this seeking to know God, and this devil, the serpent without, is the work of darkness, superstition, and tradition. It hath no foundation; it is all breath and wind, without the power. We need not look without for enemies or friends; for we shall not find them without. Our enemies are those of our own household: our own propensities and unruly desires are our greatest, and I may almost say, our alone enemies. And yet, in themselves, they are all good; because man could not give himself propensities or desires; and therefore, as there is but one being who creates, and as he is perfect in wisdom and holiness: and as he is nothing but pure and undefiled love, he could create nothing but that which is good. If nothing can create but this undefiled love, all that we feel and all that we have, when we turn inward, is the work of this Almighty creator, who has stamped it upon man, and made him a twofold creature, consisting of a body and a spirit--matter and spirit. He has impressed upon the immortal soul of man, propensities and desires, suited to its nature, and suited to the design of its creation and existence. He has impressed upon our animal bodies propensities and passions suitable to their nature, to lead us to provide for what we stand in need of. Nothing could impress these upon the creature, but God Almighty who creates; because man cannot create any thing, or make any addition to that which God has given him. Neither is there any power under Heaven, which can alter the state of man, beside man himself and his Creator. And as God is over all, and is perfectly good, he could not possibly create evil: and therefore, we must seek for the way in which, and the place from whence this evil arises, in some other quarter. We must not look outwardly for it, but inwardly.

Here we find that we are possessed of desires and propensities of various kinds, and a great many of them; and yet they are all absolutely necessary, as our being is necessary. Here we shall find out that which will banish all superstition and tradition from our souls: we shall find out that God is the only great good; that all evil arises from our disobedience to him, and from our abuse of his blessings. He has made man a twofold creature; one part mortal, the other immortal. The mortal tabernacle and the immortal spirit within, can never unite one with the other; they must stand eternally distinct from each other; and therefore, the immortal spirit has its independent nature, distinct from matter, because it comes from God. In old days it was seen to be so. These poor bodies of clay must return to the earth from whence they were taken, and the spirit to God who gave it. The soul, when disencumbered from the body, returns to the world of spirits, to give an account of its deeds, while an agent under God, in the animal body, with authority to direct it as wisdom should dictate. We see that it is not in the animal body to reason. No: it is not in bones to think, or flesh to reason. It is the immortal soul only that is accountable to God. For its own propensities are limited by the light of God in itself, and its duty is to keep insubordination the animal body, so as not to suffer it to get angry, or do any thing contrary to this light. It is to keep it down within its proper limits. And how natural these things are, my friends, if we reflect upon them. They are as plain as A, B, C. You would find you never were tempted by a devil without you, but by a devil within you. What is the devil? It is that cunning, twining wisdom,--that serpentine wisdom of man. Man is a being who is made a free agent, and with propensities, out of which, he is to grow up into a more glorious state. But by indulging them beyond the bounds of wisdom and of truth,--here is where the evil begins, here comes in that that does us mischief. What makes a drunkard, but the soul's indulging the animal passion after drink, which taken to excess produces drunkenness? It is nothing but the excess that makes the drunkard. Here now we see where sin begins; here we see where devils are created, by man himself; he is the author of them all; as he is the only fallen angel upon earth. What produces the glutton, the adulterer, the fornicator, the covetous, the liar, the thief, but an excess in the indulgence of propensities, which lead us to seek for that which is necessary for us? We should always keep within the limits of truth and wisdom, and never suffer our propensities or desires to carry us beyond what God in his wisdom intended to our limits; and thus all our passions would kept in their proper allotments.

Man was created and placed in a garden of trees--full of trees--which he was to dress, keep them in order. And what were the trees the garden of Eden? They were the propensities of man, in his animal body. These are the trees that will grow, if they are not kept down by pruning. You know how necessary it is for the wise husbandman, by care and the use of the knife, to keep his trees pruned; and if any bu shoots out improperly, he rubs it off, and keeps all smooth. If he suffers it to grow, it may be injurious to the tree, and may require the knife. Just so it is in a spiritual sense, if we attend the trees of the garden; if we watch over them with diligence, and watch every growing propensity, as it grows stronger, and the soul creases in knowledge. As the desire of know ledge grows stronger, we are to keep it down and never let the mind rise, to exercise its ow ability to decide for itself, but wait in humility on the heavenly Father to know his will. Let the business be great or small: still it must be under the dominion and control of the heavenly Father.

Here we see how the blessed Jesus went on, and how he began. He said he did not come to do his own will, but the will of the Father, that sent him. Just so with us, my friends; this is the end of our coming into the world, not to do our own will, but the will of him that has blessed us with this state of being, and endowed us with these passions, which bring about our probationary state. We feel that we are placed in a state of probation; and we feel and know that it is done by our Creator; and, therefore, we must conclude that it is the best situation in which infinite wisdom and perfect justice could have placed us. There could have been nothing more excellent; for if there could have been, our gracious Creator would have placed his creature man in the best situation--in the best possible state to effect the great end of his creation. Therefore, this probationary state, is the best state that infinite wisdom Could have selected, to effect the great design.

Well now, there must be something to bring about this probation; and has there been any thing that any of us ever knew of but these propensities and desires, that are a part of our common nature? I challenge the whole host of mankind, to find any thing but our own propensities and desires. And as man could not give to himself these propensities and desires, we have the evidence along with them, that they were given o us by our Creator, as the best possible medium, through which to effect his great end. He made us innocent creatures, and placed us here on earth, and had we been content in that state, we should have remained mere machines. That being, which is the creature of another; if he is made complete at once, without the liberty of exercising free agency, is a mere machine. But contrary to all the rest of creation, the Creator made and endowed us with the power of electing for ourselves. He gave us passions--if we may call them passions--in order that we might seek after those things which we need, and which we had a right to experience and know. Yet, not without laying a restriction upon the immortal soul, saying, "thus far shalt thou go, and no farther;" as was the charge to our first parents, when placed in the garden. They were endowed with a soul, which was to be kept in subjection; which was to be kept under the divine direction in all its propensities, and not to allow them to exceed due bounds. Here is the probation of the soul; and the only possible one, by which it could rise out of an innocent state, into a virtuous and a glorious one: to be an inhabitant of Heaven; to be a communicant with its Creator, and the God of its existence and life.

Oh! my friends, how glorious the view~I say, how glorious the view, when we are brought to witness and to see how divine wisdom intended we should rise from a state of mere innocency, into a state of glorification, by a conquest over all its enemies, over every thing which could obtrude itself upon the soul, or divert it from its proper duty.

We need not look outward to find a devil; we shall find enough in us. We read that there were seven devils cast out of Mary Magdalene. She had been a vile woman, who was given to multitude of evil propensities, by the indulgence of which, she was brought completely under the power of them. Her rational spirit became enlisted in the service of the passions; and seven propensities had been indulged in, till they became as devils to her. Here she went counter to the divine will. So now, Jesus quelled all these, and brought her into a sense of her desperate state. As she believed on him, and looked to him for help,--as she gave up to him, he banished the evil spirits from her soul--he bound the strong man armed, and cast him out; and as she was faithful, and sat down in humiliation at his feet, he spoiled all his goods. This produced a vacuum; and this vacuum was filled with the holy presence. The Lord Almighty came in, in lieu of it, to reign over all. And these were all the devils that were cast out; they were the passions which were inimical to man's happiness.

The leprosy was a disease, and such was the superstition of that day; such the darkness and ignorance,-that they were led to suppose, that there was some devil from without that had brought this disease upon them. This disease, and ready others, were cleansed from the people by Jesus. He took upon him to cleanse the people-he cured the lunatic. And what is lunacy? It is a failing in man, it is a disease, which was then, may be now, and even is, sometimes supposed to be, by the foolish and credulous a spirit--an evil spirit.

These things should show us our infirmity; and teach us to trust in the Lord our God, for salvation and strength; believing that if we in early life begin to attend to these things; to the divine law, and the visitations of the holy spirit, all these things would be banished. But for the want of this, our imperfections lead us to turn away from him, who alone can save us; and thus are we led astray and deluded.

This we must conclude if we believe the scriptures, and our own experience: "They that trust in the Lord, shall never he confounded." So that the great business of life, to the children of men is, to turn inward, to the witness of Go, in their own souls. We have many demonstrations of this in the letter: but what does fi~e letter do? What has it ever done? It can do nothing. It is not a cause, but an effect. It might have a tendency, if we were willing-hearted, to attend to the divine grace, to push us to it; to direct its to it; but it can do nothing more. The grace of God is the only thing that can produce the salvation of the soul of man: "For by grace are ye saved, through faith." We must not expect that the grace of God will save us, without faith in its sufficiency. There is but one way that I ever found, and that is, to be obedient to its teachings, and attentive to its operation upon the mind. As we attend to it, it will open our understandings; we shall learn to know its excellency; and in proportion as we are attentive to it, we shall love it for its excellency and goodness. "For by grace are ye saved, through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.

How then shall we undertake to give a brother or a father a belief? If we do it, what wicked and presumptuous creatures we are, because we take the place of God. We assume the place of God when we tell our brother, this is the right way; my opinion is just right, and if thou do not come into it, thou art a heretic. A brother who does this, must be void of christian love; otherwise he would never assume such a stand. He has not that love which leads every one to do what lie thinks is right in the sight of his Heavenly Father. If they do not see as he does, it may be because they are not fit to see as he does. They are not prepared in their own hearts. They are not enough subjected, so as to bring them to experience what their brother has experienced; and yet in this darkness they would presume to rule their brother. Here is no brotherly love existing. Look at it now, if we should suppose that some one should say, "My brother, thou must be constrained to come into my views." The brother says: "Not so, but thou must come into my views," Here now, contention and discord would enter, and every evil work prevail: but on the contrary, were they under the influence of brotherly love, they would be willing to say, each to the other, "mind thy own business; thy Father hath given thee thy portion, and let it he what it may, be thou faithful. Do not mind me; I am not to be thy teacher; I am not to be an example to thee, any further than my example corresponds with what God commands thee to do."

Let us encourage each other, in pursuing the path of duty, as laid out by our Heavenly Father; and none else does know it. As long as we believe in the light, and continue to walk in the light, our intentions become settled and firm; that we will do nothing but that which is right. We shall endeavour to pursue the right way in all things; to do all the good we can, and as little harm as possible, in the world. These are resolutions which the divine light brings the soul into, when it comes under its regulating influence. It brings the soul into its own nature, to do nothing but the right thing. This will be its steady aim. But as finite creatures, though we might have no other motive than that of doing good; yet it is possible we may mistake, and do all injury in our dealings with others. But when our motives are correct, and we suppose that we are doing the best thing; but through a want of previous knowledge we do that which injures another, yet if he knows the sincerity of our heart, and believes that we are always striving to do the best thing; it would make no uneasiness, no breach of brotherly love among us. Each one would continue to pursue his own straight course, with nothing in view, but to do all the good he could, and as little hurt as possible.

This is an excellent religion, when men are willing to come to it. These things have arisen from a view of the preciousness, the dignity, and majesty of divine love, as it has opened to me, since I stood up; although, I saw but little when I first to see, but to endeavour to lead our minds home, that we might be enabled to act with propriety towards one another; for I am clear, that it would be impossible for any thing to disturb our peace, however different our views, if we were acting under the influence of pure undefiled love. We should all harmonise and rejoice together, my beloved friends; we should become as one family of love; and should experience the testimony that "the Lord's children are taught of the Lord, and great is the peace of these children." But when we look around and see how little righteousness there is among us, we are afraid to look; we see so many inconsistencies, we hardly dare look?-we are afraid to examine. That even when an individual under the best concern or exercise, is led to point out to us the enormities we are guilty of in this land, they seem ready to turn it behind their backs. Then what must be done? Let us "try all things; prove all things, and hold fast that which is good." Did we enter into a close investigation of the one great principle of actions--justice, we should see how far we are in the performance of our duty to our fellow creatures. For we must be just before we are generous. There can be no charity, no virtue, which has not justice for its foundation.

Let us then inquire, are we doing any thing that oppresses them; are we doing any thing that strengthens the hand of the oppressor? Look to it my friends. You know that the receiver and the thief are considered equal. He that receives stolen goods is just as guilty as the one who steals them. Now, how oppression reigns in our land; and how many goods there are which are even worse than stolen goods.

I appeal to your common sense, my friends, whether to make a man labour and bring forth to us his goods, is not worse than stealing. Therefore he that partakes of these stolen goods, is worse than the common thief. Our common understanding would dictate this to us, was it not for the prejudice of education and tradition. But when we become accustomed to any thing, however evil it may be, if it has been sanctioned by usage, we find it extremely difficult to abandon it; and particularly, where we are individually interested in it. We are not willing to believe it. We do not want to see these things, and turn our backs to a serious search. In this case it is not difficult to know our duty, because the matter is so clear and plain: and there cannot be an individual who is willing to stand as an upright man or woman, but would be willing, if possible, to know where they were falling short. For they that can strengthen the hand of the oppressor in the least degree, how can this divine love come in, and all their hearts, while they manifest a hatred to their fellow creatures? They who strengthen the hand of the oppressor, evidently manifest a hatred to the oppressed. There are many ways in which we oppress. This land is guilty of the oppression of human beings, and the crime lies as a dark cloud Upon the nation.

I consider it the duty of every individual to search into this subject. Oh! my friends, let us strike at the very bottom; and may we be led to go on hand in hand in the work. Let us join hand in hand in the resolution to do good; and we shall be stimulated, to do all that we can to put an end to this cruel oppression in our land. Where injustice now reigns, justice would come up in its dignity and power; and the op:. pressed would he relieved. The chains would be released from the necks of our fellow creatures; justice would be exalted, and come up to reign over all. We have hardly got our hands clear of our oppressed fellow creatures, and we sit down in ease, and keep encouraging those who are engaged in this cruel traffic. What is the difference whether I hold a slave, or purchase the produce of his labour from those who do? If I deal moderately with him, would it not be better to hold him myself?--I say, would it not be better to keep one in a moderate way?

Look to this, my friends. I see the scales that are upon the eyes of the people;--their prejudices are such, that it requires something powerful to break the scales from off their eyes. But let us make the case our own, and then we shall begin to see through a more impartial medium. Now here are dear parents, the fathers and mothers of children. Suppose the tyrant should tear from you your dear sons and daughters, take them into the next county, put them under the iron yoke, and lash them every day, and deprive them of every liberty and enjoyment; and above all, the liberty of free agency, without which all other blessings are not worth enjoying; for nothing can be a blessing to a slave in this world. Look at it, my friends, and say, whether you could go over the line of a county, and traffic, and buy the produce of your tender offspring, who, through toil and bloodshed, had been compelled to labour at a tyrant's will. And is not the principle still the same, if we go a little further, and buy the produce of our fellow creatures, who are not so nearly connected? Are we not all brethren? Have we any better right to oppress one who is not our immediate brother or sister, than we have to oppress one that is?

Oh! that we might learn wisdom, before our iniquity becomes our ruin! I say there is a black cloud hanging over us, and I can see no advancement that we can make till this greatest of evils is removed. There are many other evils and acts of injustice in the line of commerce and trade with one another, where we impose on one. another, and do manifest injustice; but these are so trivial and small compared with this great one, that I have little hope of improving in this respect, till the greater evil is banished from our land. And how quick it might be effected, were justice to reign--if we were all willing to be just men and women.

Are we to reason about consequences, when the divine light shows us our sins? If we leave off this sin, this or that will be the consequence; the tyrant may suffer by it; we shall be taking away his living. Is this good reasoning? What matter is it about the tyrant? We are called upon to do that which is right and just; and are not to consider what the consequence will be.

What if a thief should say to himself, "Now God calls on me to leave off this sin; but I have been stealing a great while, and if I leave off this sin, I shall have no way to live." What should we think of an individual who would undertake to reason with the Most High in this way? We know he could not find favour in his sight. When we have sufficient evidence, we need not look any higher. When our own understanding testifies to us that we are wrong, that we are unjust and unrighteous, shall we then wait for revelation? Why it would be casting an indignity upon him, who gives us these lesser means, to convince us with the clearest demonstration. Our own common sense is a sufficient evidence, and we need not look any higher. If we know an act to be unjust, no matterhow we come by the knowledge; even if a child in the neighbourhood, should tell us of it, if we have evidence in ourselves that the child has spoken the truth, we have no need to look for higher evidence, because this may be the means under Heaven, by which our eyes should be opened.

Whenever we come to the knowledge of a truth, no matter by what means, it is time then for us to attend to it, and to leave off our injustice, if we are guilty of ally. It is enough that we are convinced, even if it were by an inanimate thing; or if we are brought to see as Balaam was, by means of an ass. We have to right to look any higher, when we are convinced that any thing is the truth, and nothing but the truth.--Well is it not so? Can we want to go any where to be informed of our duty in this matter? Can any people have a better view of a subject than we have of this? Could we know it better if we should ascend into Heaven? No. Not any thing in Heaven can make it plainer than it is. All revelation, and all that is rational, can prove no more; for our common sense proves indubitably that slavery is the most cruel and most wicked of all things. We have the most self-evident proof; and in the great day of account, We dare not make the plea, and say, the Bible did not reveal it to me. The question will be, didst thou not see it by the light of reason, that was communicated to thee ? Did not thy common understanding convince thee? And still thou wouldst not believe! But we are not willing to believe unless the Almighty will convince us by some great miracle. We are like the Jews, when they would not believe the miracles of Jesus Christ. His disciples wanted him to bring down fire from Heaven. But he would not indulge them.

We know, to the utmost certainty what slavery is, and not any thing in Heaven can make it plainer, than it is. If we know it to he unjust, will we still wait for the Lord to tell us it is so? He will never do it; for he has already done it, by the means which he appointed for that purpose. But being unjust to man in our common way of life--being, too many of us, in the way of darkness, we can have fellowship with the works of darkness; although we are called out of it all.

I know not how to leave this subject, for my soul is in it. Oh! may it be our desire and our resolution, my friends, willingly to take up the cross and despise the shame;--although individuals may point the finger of scorn at us, and say it is a little thing--don't let us regard these things. We are not accountable to man, but to our Creator, who is doing every thing to make the way plain and intelligibly clear to us.

Can we have christian love, and strengthen the hand of an oppressor? Be sure we cannot, my friends. We are Void of it, because we delight in gratifying ourselves. Oh! may we, individually, sink deep into the-consideration. Try these things, my friends, and search for yourselves. I do not desire, as a brother, to impress my opinions upon you; but only to give you my views, and leave them as a mirror for you to look into. I would not have any turn to my views, merely because they are mine; but because they are convinced of the irresistible truth of them. If they do not see as I do, it does not break my love with my fellow creatures. I am thankful--and this is the very pearl of my life--that I feel and continue to feel, nothing but love to flow to every creature under Heaven. Oh! how precious it is. "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things that God hath prepared for them that love him;"--that love him with that pure love, that hath all power, both in Heaven and in earth. Love is stronger than death, but jealousy is more cruel than the grave.

I have never known or witnessed any evidence of fallen angels, but those who are fallen men and women. I believe there never were any other on this earth. Those whom the Lord has called, and who have been made partakers of the good things and power of the world to come, these when they fall away and become apostates, are fallen angels. For what are angels, but messengers? As it is said: "He maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire."

Now we ought to take warning, my friends, till we become established. Not but that I believe there is an arriving at a state of establishment beyond falling. But few arrive at it for want of faithfulness. Many make a good beginning, but too few hold out to the end. It is not enough to begin well, and to run well for a while; but we must persevere. For it is only those who endure to the end, that shall be saved. Now, those whom the Lord has blessed, and who have advanced in some degree to be his people; and whom he has enabled by his grace to become useful in their day; do sometimes fall off. Are not these fallen angels?

Oh! let us deeply consider these things. Ever remember that it is not enough to begin well. How many there were brought out of Egypt, through the wilderness, who, nevertheless: never entered into the promised land. They were afraid, they lost their confidence, When they came on the borders of Canaan. So it is with many who set out in the christian travel. They go on well for a while; but when their life and all is to be given up, they fail. When we enter the conflict, and our lives are ready to be taken from us, how many ten thousands there are, in the present day, who, like the Israelites, have rebelled against God, and turned away from their former confidence. Let me repeat it again. It is not enough to begin well: it is not enough to run well for a while, and to get through the wilderness, and in a good degree towards a state of establishment; because the greatest trim that we find, is at the end of the conflict; when we come to the point where all must be given up; where our lives must be considered as nothing to us. See our great example; he had his conflicts, his trials, and temptations; when his life and all was to be given up. How trying the scene! I how painful! He was brought to cry out, in anxious concern to his Father. Yea, in his prayer, he was brought to sweat, as it were, great drops of blood, and nature felt the desire to escape this suffering. "If it be possible, Father, let this cup pass from me." But see the example--"not my will, but thine be done." Oh! believe me, here in this trial many shrink back, and become as dead lights.

Oh! may we be encouraged to faithfulness: Oh! may we be led in due time, to see our own insufficiency, and to cry out, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me." These things we must go through, if we continue to the end. If we persevere in faithfulness, we must be brought to the time in which all must be given up: yea, the death of the cross must be our experience. Therefore, let ns take courage and persevere on, whether life or death, let us keep our eye single to the divine light, to our holy leader, and he will carry us through, over all, to name the name of that great and adorable name. Let us, therefore, in confidence of this, be willing to thank God and take courage.