A Sermon Delivered by SAMUEL J. LEVICK In The City Of Philadelphia, Time and Place Not Given.
Foulke, Hugh, ed. The Life of Samuel J. Levick. Philadelphia: William Pile's Sons, 1896, Pages 315-325.
This is The Quaker Homiletics Online Anthology, Section Three: The 19th Century.
In thus bearing my testimony to you this morning, it is not that I have received it by tradition nor
learned it in the schools of men, but I have felt it and realized it by the revelation of the power of
God in my heart. For I know, from a measure of that love of which I have spoken, which spreads
from river to river, from sea to sea, from ocean to ocean, to the uttermost parts of the earth, that
that love has poured itself into my heart; that it has satisfied my desire; that, by the light of it, the
things that were obscure have been made plain; and, standing here, I can bear my humble
testimony to the power of this blessed Truth that "God so loved the world that He gave his only
begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
But I do not now speak of this everlasting life--nor do I believe that it was intended to be so
presented--as if it were only attainable when the earthly life shall have ceased. Oh, no; its great
and grand glory is that it is vouchsafed unto us here, for it is here we need it, and here is where
we ought to enjoy it, in the measure permitted to be enjoyed while in the body.
Then let us, my beloved friends, be willing to hearken unto the voice of the Lord, for it comes to
us in many ways. It speaks to us in the night; it comes to us as the heavenly messenger; it comes
with the light of its own glory, inviting us to taste, see and thus know for ourselves that the Lord
is good. Let us listen to this voice and follow it, for it is as essential today that we should follow
our Lord and Master in spirit, as it was that the fishermen of Galilee should follow Him when in
the body. Nothing short of a willingness on our part to do this can make us worthy to be
numbered among the disciples of Jesus Christ. But mere assent, mere acknowledgment with the
tongue, is not that which does the work. A correct belief, valuable as it is, does not make a
Christian. We must know the child born, the Son given in us, and that the government of our lives
rests upon his shoulders, before we can feel that we are saved. If we feel in our hearts the power
of God to be our power, so that when we are tempted it will enable us to say to the tempter, "Get
thee hence, Satan," then are we safe in the keeping of our Lord, "For, in that He himself hath
suffered being tempted, He is able to succor them that are tempted." And this succor will be given
to those, and those only, who are willing to deny themselves, to take up their daily cross and
Our Heavenly Father comes as near to his children today as He has ever done, and He pours in
the light of his presence and power upon the sons and daughters of men as freely as He has done
in any age of the world.
It is amply sufficient for every one who is willing to be brought under the influence of that power,
that light and that presence. Blessed be God, He so loved the world, and all that come into the
world, that He gave his beloved Son for our salvation.
My brethren and sisters, the glory of our faith and the possession of it are worth more to you and
to me and to mankind than anything else can be worth, because such an attainment is a victory
over the things of this world, over all the powers of darkness. It lifts us to the position which God
designed that every man should occupy. "If the Son, therefore, shall make you free, ye shall be
Why should men be spending their time, the prime of their manhood, in working, striving,
laboring night and day for that which, as we all know, perisheth? When we come to compare the
transitoriness of the things of this world with the joy of possessing eternal life, is it not marvelous
that intelligent men, the world over, should spend their strength, their manhood and all they have,
in the pursuit of that which vanisheth like an ignis-fatus, which leads but to bewilder, and which
dazzles but to blind?
Look at the world today; grasping, reaching out, overreaching and toiling after riches which, after
all, must perish. Such acquisition does not lift a man up in the sight of God, but often just the
contrary. I would not apply this remark to what a man need possess, and what he may acquire by
energy, by improvement, by a proper exercise of the talents and the powers that have been
bestowed upon him; but when he devotes all his available time to the amassing of wealth, and in
doing so loses sight of the great work of making his "calling and election sure"--what is his life
but a blank in comparison with what it ought to be?
Only contemplate for a moment, were every heart here filled with the power of the Holy Ghost! What a power! it would go out in all directions, in the inviting language, come brother, come sister, "Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and lie will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths; for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem."
When we consider how much we already possess, not only of material wealth, but also of talent
and opportunity, and the blessings that have been poured out upon us; and then realize how much
more we might do, than we are doing, to smooth down the asperities of life--I feel that these
thoughts should drive away sectarianism, where it exists; for that spirit frequently produces
controversy and hatred, and when these take possession of a man, they make him narrow minded,
and according to his opportunity--a persecutor. This was exemplified in the treatment given to our
Saviour, who was persecuted because his teachings differed from those of the priests who were
established in their sectarianism, and who hated the new doctrine which He taught. But what
could they say? for He had exemplified his power by his works. He had opened the eyes of the
blind, had made the deaf to hear, and, in their very sight had the sick been restored to health. This
evidence, with that of the five barley loaves, and the two small fishes, manifested to the people the
power of the living God in him; for He showed by his works, and testified by his words, that He
did not speak for himself, or act by his own power. "I can of mine own self do nothing; as I hear I
judge, and my judgment is just; because I seek nor my own will, but the will of the Father which
hath sent me." With all this evidence multiplied again and again, the chief priests conspired to take
his life, even when the secular ruler would have spared Him. I would rather fall into the hands of
any other class to be judged, than into those of a sectarian believer. What darkness covers that
mind which is under the thick vail of sectarianism! Remember how it was with those Jews, when
Pilate wanted to release Jesus, for he found no fault in Him. The people, urged by the priests,
cried out, release unto us Barabbas. And why did these priests object to having Jesus released?
Was it not because they were fearful that his preaching, together with the miracles He had
performed, would take away their power from the Sanhedrin, draw away the worshipers from the
temple, and cause them to lose their influence? Do we think there is nothing of this kind in the
world now? Until a man is willing to come under the government of God, until he is made to
believe, until he is willing to deny himself, and take up his daily cross and follow the Lord Jesus
Christ, he does act out this kind of spirit. The natural man is selfish and oppressive: he loves his
own way more than he loves God. It is terrible to behold, when we cast our eyes about us, and
see what has been done in the name of religion. I do not marvel that men are turned away from
coming to know, and to listen to religion, when they have looked at the actions of many who
profess, and of some who teach it. But when you want to see portrayed the character of true
religion, turn and look at the teachings of Jesus Christ. The light that He exemplified was the light
of the Father; He was of the Most High God; born not of the corruptible, but of the incorruptible;
He and his Father being one.
Now, my Friends, I want you to understand that that same Almighty Power is here this morning,
ready to confer this work, this love, this power, upon you; to give you in time a sufficiency of it to
enable you to work out your soul's salvation with fear and trembling. And I tell you there is no
other way by which you can obtain this than by taking hold of Jesus Christ, by hearkening unto
the voice of God; by bringing yourselves, even as the Virtuous Mary brought herself, under
submission to the power of the Highest. When you do this, saying in your hearts, "Be it unto me
according to thy word," then will the Almighty Power of God be exemplified in you; you will
know the child born in you; you will know the government of your lives to rest upon his
shoulders, and that He is the Counselor and the Prince of Peace, who will destroy all enmity
between you' and your God; and you will experience that peace of which Jesus said, "Peace I
leave with you, my peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth give I unto you. Let not your
heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."
It is the desire of my heart to have an increase of this kind of religion; to have more Christians;
and I should be willing to be spent if I could persuade my brethren everywhere to listen to the
invitation of the Saviour himself, "Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will
give you rest. me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my
yoke is easy and my burden is light." Our God wills not the death of any, nor that any should
perish, but that all should return, repent and live. Remember this, my friends, all ye that are heavy
laden. Oh! could some who are here this morning realize the joys of Heaven, and the peace which
fills the heart that is prepared to receive it; even the peace of God--you would be willing to part
with everything you have, and to say take it all; only give me that peace which I crave. Turn over
the pages of Holy Scripture; read the various illustrations there in the book of Job. How striking
and how beautiful they are, when realized and brought home to our individual experience. "I have
heard of thee by the hearing of the ear; but now my eye seeth thee; wherefore I abhor myself, and
repent in dust and ashes." Such, my beloved friends, will be our acknowledgments, when we bow
and submit ourselves to the living God. Then his glorious light and power shall come shining
around about us, and we can in truth say, "Now mine eye seeth thee."(1) And let us remember that
after Job's afflictions, the blessings of the Lord were multiplied unto him, and his last days, were
his best days.
Such is the character of the Christian religion, and a glorious one it is.
And this land--the land of our birth--great and powerful as it is, may, by our submitting to his will, and following his leadings, become an earthly kingdom of our Lord and :of his Christ; for when righteousness shall have spread its panoply over the hearts of the people, the beams of the rising sun will penetrate the dark recesses of sin and selfishness, and the name of the Lord will be extolled everywhere.
1. 1. Job 42:5-6.