A Sermon and Prayer Delivered by CHARLES MARSHALL at the Close of Meeting in Grace-Church Street, March 11, 1693.
Sermons Preached by the People Called Quakers, A New Edition. London: Mary Hinde, 1775.

This is The Quaker Homiletics Online Anthology, Section One: The17th Century

The Sermon:

My Friends,

The testimony which lives in my soul at this time, is unto the excellency of the love of God in Christ Jesus; which love is indeed incomprehensible and unspeakable, the love of the everlasting God through his beloved Son Christ Jesus; whom, because of' the hardness of the hearts of men, and for want of understanding, and of a feeling heart, and of a perceiving mind, many of the children of men have not the knowledge of. Herein was the greatness and extensiveness of the love of God unto mankind in sending his Son into the world; who came from the bosom of the Father, "that He that knew no sin might be made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." O the wonderful mystery of the incarnation of Christ Jesus! "Great is the mystery of godliness; God manifest in the flesh." The professors of this age have been strangely ignorant of it, and have been ready to reflect on those that admire it, and have a high esteem of it.

But blessed be the Lord our God, that we can say in truth, that we have an esteem of that one offering of the eternal son of God, that we can say as the apostle did in his day: "By one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified.'' This is that which hath opened upon my soul this morning. The Lord God of glory, in this age and generation, hath laid a necessity upon us to preach Christ under the denomination of a glorious Light, for he is the Light of the world, and the only saviour, and so we are to have faith in him.

The apostles made it their work to persuade the people from morning to evening, that Jesus was the Christ, the true Messiah, that made a good confession before Pontius Pilate; and that he was crucified, died, and rose again, and ascended up into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God: and lives forever to make intercession for us. This was the labour, travail, and exercise of the apostles, to preach Christ crucified and risen from the dead: "But the Jews assembled with the chief priests and elders, to take counsel together, and gave large money to the soldiers, saying: Say ye, his disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept." This was the labour of the apostles and servants of the Lord, to persuade the people, in their day, that Jesus was the Christ; and that after He was crucified and died, He was risen from the dead: but the Jews, the Scribes and Pharisees, they did oppose this; and said he was not the promised Messiah. But in process of time, through the powerful preaching of the gospel, the children of men did receive and believe this testimony, that Jesus was the Christ, the eternal Son of God, and only Saviour. And when the enemy could no longer withstand that beliefs when it came over the nations -- then the people were turned about, and then there was an admission of that belief that Jesus was the Christ; and many contented themselves with the bare name of Christ, and with a profession of the word, without the power.

But the Lord of glory hath raised a people in this age and generation, as instruments that might shew forth the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ spiritually; not thereby denying or not in the least opposing his manifestation bodily, which died without the gates of Jerusalem; for this was the end of his manifestation: "For this purpose," saith the apostle, "was the Son of God manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil."

So that now, friends, that which opens and lives in my soul, and that which I have to say and demonstrate to you at this time, is this: that the Lord God of heaven and earth, hath raised up a people in our day, to preach Christ under that denomination, that the servants of the Lord preached Christ in former days, ages, and generations. They gave testimony on this wise: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God: the same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In Him was life, and that life was the Light of men, and the Light shined in darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not. There was a man sent from God Whose name was John: the same came for a witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light; that was the true Light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew him not. He came to his own, and his own received Him not; but as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, to them that believe in his name."

Did the apostle John, that gave testimony of Christ, as the Light of the world, oppose his appearance in that body that was prepared for Him of the Father to do his will in? No, no more than the apostle Paul, who preached his spiritual appearance and manifestation, opposed his bodily appearance, and being manifest in flesh, when He saith: "The grace of God which brings salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world." No more do we deny or oppose Christ's bodily appearance, who died without the gates of Jerusalem; though we are misunderstood and misrepresented, by many in this generation. The Lord in mercy by his heavenly power remove this misunderstanding, and take away this vail from the hearts of the children of men; and so bring them to a sense and knowledge of the spiritual appearance of Christ Jesus, and the blessed end of his coming in that blessed body wherein He suffered, and "tasted death for every man;" not that any man might live in sin, because He died a sacrifice for sin: "He did not die for sin, that men should live in sin, but that they might die to sin and live to God." So likewise we do not preach any thing opposite to Christ's appearance in that blessed body, who was "God manifest in the flesh," for therein He wrought salvation for us. "He is the Captain of our salvation, and was made perfect through sufferings. He is the first begotten of the dead, the Prince of the kings of the earth, that hath loved us, and cleanseth us from our sins in his own blood."

The Lord open the understanding of the children of men, that they may come to know the excellency of his life and love! When the Lord comes to open and manifest to the children of men, his great love, in sending "his Son out of his bosom, in the fulness of time, to die for us;" (for Christ had a being before the world began;) when men's eyes and hearts, I say, are wonderfully opened to see this love of God, then their hearts will be melted and broken, and their prejudices removed, and they will be brought to the obedience and service of God.

We own the doctrine of the life and death, resurrection and ascension, and intercession of Christ Jesus; and for any to say we deny this, how inconsistent is it will what we have preached and declared; and how shameless is it for any to misrepresent or falsely charge us with the contrary, since we have gone through many exercises, and suffered many persecutions, buffetings, and imprisonments, for declaring "the truth as it is in Jesus; so that if in this life only we had hope, we were of all men most miserable; and if Christ be not risen from the dead, our preaching is vain, and your faith is also vain."

We have spoken the truth according to the Scriptures of truth, yet how have the children of men been prejudiced against us; how many have been bewildered and led into error, and into misapprehension, concerning what we have plainly declared among you.

And now, to give a little ease to my spirit, I would speak something briefly to you. Let the love of God in Christ Jesus, extended to you, affect your hearts. If yon are in the living sense of' this love, it will engage yon to live in obedience and subjection to this heavenly light, by which you were "brought out of darkness, and redeemed from iniquity, to be a peculiar people, zealous of good works." It will engage you to live to Christ that died for you; and as you know a translation from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of God's dear Som, you will reap the fruits and benefits of his death, resurrection and ascension, and intercession at God's right hand.

The Lord God of heaven and earth open all your hearts, that while you have a little time, and are on this side the grave, and on this side eternity, you may serve the Lord in your generation, and fulfill his blessed will, and finish the work which he hath given you to do; that you may glorify the name of the Lord God of heaven and earth who is worthy of all praise, glory and renown, worship, love, service, and obedience, who is God over all, blessed for ever and ever. Amen.

The Prayer:

Most glorious, heavenly, and divine Fountain of love and life! who hast let us see the beginnings of thy excellent day, and participate of thy love in making bare Thine arm of salvation, which Thou hast revealed and made bare in our age--O God of glory, and sovereign Lord of heaven and earth! it is in the power of thy hand to open the hearts of thy people, as Thou didst open the heart of Lydia, that the things that belong to the peace of every sou! may be seen, known, and experienced.

Lord God of glory ! our eyes are unto Thee, and our souls are bowed before Thee; for the shewing of mercy, and the handing forth of the blessings, which thou promisedst to the children of Israel, by tine mouth of thy holy prophets; that Thou, Father of life, wilt bless them in turning every one from their iniquities and the evil of their ways; for, Lord God of life! this is greatly wanting both in this city', and throughout the whole nation. Thy mercies and favours have been received by many, and thy loving-kindness hath extended itself wonderfully.

O glorious Fountain of heavenly love and life! be pleased to remove that insensibility that is ready to come over the minds of men, that the nearer thy wrath and judgment do approach to us, by reason of that inundation of sin and wickedness that overflows the land, the less sense and apprehension there is of it. Lord, open the people's eyes and hearts, that they may see, and consider the danger of their state and condition, and be humbled for their sin, and seek thy face, and turn-to Thee with all their hearts; that, glorious God of life! the souls of thy children may be affected with thy goodness, patience and long-suffering; that this may be the blessed effect of thy goodness, that it may lead all to repentance never to be repented of; that we may mourn before Thee, for the manifold sins and transgressions of the land, against thy Divine Majesty; that, glorious God of love and life! we may not again provoke Thee to a anger. O! rend the vail of darkness that is spread over this land, that it may not hinder the bright beams of gospel light from shining, nor the children of men from seeing their spiritual state and condition. Lord God of life! let trembling and astonishment take hold of the wicked, that they may have a deep sense of the sins and provocations this ungrateful land is guilty of; that they may lament and mourn before Thee, O Lord !

O tender God of love and life! thy mercy and loving kindness was extended to the inhabitants of' Nineveh, that great city, wherein were more than six score thousand persons that could not discern between their right hand and their left. Didst Thou not enlighten their minds, and melt their hearts, when Thou hadst a controversy with them, and denouncedst judgment by thy prophet against them? Did not the mighty come down from their seats, and the king from his throne, and lay his robe from him; and the nobles and all the people of the land, did they not all put on sackcloth and sit in ashes, and mourn before Thee, and cry mightily to Thee, and turn from their evil ways? and Thou didst turn away thy wrath, and repent of the evil which Thou hadst said Thou wouldst do unto them; and didst it not, but extendedst thy mercy and favour to them, and savedst them with a great salvation. Blessed Lord! Thou art our God. O! save us, for we have none in heaven but Thee, and none upon earth that we can desire in comparison of Thee. We have none to make our moan unto but Thyself. Our eyes and hearts are towards Thee.

Let us hearken to thy counsel, and turn at thy reproof; and let sorrow take hold of their, hearts that have rejected thy favours and mercies. O! give repentance unto life, that thy wrath may not wax hot against the nation, and the inhabitants thereof; and that thy fury and jealousy may not consume and burn them up. O! make them sensible of the sins that have been committed, and of the misery they have deserved; that they may come to Thee for pardon and reconciliation with Thee, through the Lord Jesus Christ.

And let not any content themselves with a bare profession of Christ, and the name of Christians, but make us Christians indeed, true Israelites, in whom there is no guile. We pray Thee, let the power of godliness shine forth in our hearts and lives. Let none be found among us that crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put Him to open shame; and trample upon the blood of the Covenant, and do despite to the Spirit of grace.

Bring such, we beseech Thee, to true repentance, as have made light of Christ and salvation, that they may seek Thee while Thou mayest be found, and call upon Thee while Thou art near. Glorious God of life and love! thine eye is over all thy people at this time, and their condition is known to Thee; and the living sense which Thou hast given thy servants of the state and condition of thy people, makes them humble mourners before Thee, and doth bow down their spirits in thy sight.

O Lord God of glory! let not thy wrath and indignation break forth like fire against the people of this land; but look down with an eye of compassion from the throne of thy glory, and make bare thy victorious arm, and make them a willing people in the day of thy power; that they may be moved and excited to repent, and turn to Thee, and cease from their vain conversation, and serve Thee in sincerity, and in the beauties of holiness. Let the Spirit of life quicken them that are dead in sins and trespasses, and remove the stupidity, darkness, and ignorance of those that are strangers to Thee, and know not the things that belong to their peace; and open their hearts and minds, that they may know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.

And O tender Father of life! Thou art, at this day, threatening this nation, and shaking thy rod over the land of our nativity. Cause the inhabitants thereof to humble themselves under thy mighty hand, and bow before Thee; and to consider how fearful a thing it is to fall into the hands of the Living God, if thy wrath be kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in Thee.

Blessed God of glory! whom have we in heaven but Thee? and there is none upon earth can help like Thee; thy loving-kindness is better than life, and thy displeasure more terrible than death. When Thou hidest thy face, We are troubled; but when Thou liftest up the light of thy countenance upon us, and smilest upon our souls, and with a ray of thy excellent glory shining on us, speakest peace unto us, and openest a door for us into the secret of thy presence; then we are filled with joy unspeakable, and satisfied as with marrow and fatness; then we dwell safely as in the Munition of Rocks.

Most glorious, excellent Fountain of Divine Goodness! be present with all thy people; keep them as the apple of thine eye, under the shadow of thy wings: and in all their solemn assemblies, when they meet together to worship Thee, O Lord! meet with their souls, and let them see that Thou rulest, and art present in the midst of them, who art the Fountain of living waters to those that thirst for Thee, the Living God. Let them, in their assembling together, drink of the brook of Shiloh, which runs with pleasant streams; and there let them find refreshment to their souls. We pray, let them see the great design of thy love to them; in that Thou sendest them plentiful supplies from heaven, and givest the streams of life, where Thou feedest thy flocks, and makest them to rest at noon, and to lie down in green pastures, and leadest them by the still waters. Though they walk through the valley of the shadow of death, they shall fear no evil; for Thou art with them. Thou preparest and furnishest a table for them in the presence of their enemies; and they are abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thine house; and Thou makest them to drink of the rivers of thy pleasures. But, Everlasting God of life! Thou hast a controversy with those that dwell at ease in Zion; that do not lament and mourn for the sins and abominations committed in the midst of them. Shew them that their rest is not the rest of God; let them cease from their own works, and serve and worship Thee in truth and sincerity; and let them know there is a sabbath, an heavenly rest, for such to partake of. Shew them the many secret workings of the enemy, that they may watch against him, and not be ignorant of his devices, who is going about like a roaring lion, seeking to devour them, and to destroy their souls.

Arise, O God of glory! and appear in Jacob's dwellings, and search Jerusalem as with candles. Let not thy people spare or hide any darling sin from the slaughter, nor keep Amalek alive, nor save those enemies which Thou hast determined to destruction. Lord God of life and love! Thou sovereign Lord of heaven and earth! do thou graciously strengthen, and keep in all tenderness, thy people every where. In all their trials, labours, and exercises, let them find favour and acceptance with Thee, in and through the Lord Jesus Christ, the great Mediator. Let them know thy heavenly gatherings; and there let them abide under thy shadow. Let their quiver be filled with the arrows of the Almighty, that may reach the hearts of many by thy power; and let their bow abide in strength. Let them hear the heavenly sounding of thy trumpet from the holy mountain of thy glory; and, in all their assemblies, let the pleasant streams of life flow from Thee upon their souls. And, pray Thee, let them grow green and flourish, and be as a watered garden, bringing forth pleasant fruits.

Then, blessed Father of life and glory! thy love will be discovered to thy people, when they are in the daily exercise of thy grace, and under the living influences of thy good Spirit when Thou takest them into thy banqueting house, and thy banner over them shall be love. Blessed Lord God of glory! when it shall be thus with us, we shall behold thy heavenly countenance shining upon us, and thy glory in the face of Jesus Christ; and we shall be taken and delighted with the excellency thereof. Thy blessed banquet will be sweet to our taste; and we shall be satisfied and overcome with thy love. Then will thy glory shine, and thy voice be heard: Eat, O friends! drink, yea drink abundantly, beloved !

Now, for all thy mercies and blessings, and wonderful patience, forbearance, and love towards us, we desire to offer our thanksgivings Thee; for thy tender compassions extended those that are sorrowful, afflicted, and bowed before Thee. Father of life! Thou hast opened thy bosom of love, and given them some ease and refreshment: Thou hast remembered us in our low estate, and Thou hast been with Us and kept us in all our exercises, and labours, and travails; and Thou hast made Thine to grow up as the lily of the vallies, and as the rose in Sharon; and hast watered us as with the streams from Lebanon.

Lord God of glory ! we do thankfully acknowledge thy wonderful care over us, and love towards us, and to all the children of men; and we desire to offer to Thee praise and glory, through Christ Jesus the Son of thy love, who art worthy of all glory and renown, power, blessings, and praise, who art God over all, blessed for ever and ever. Amen.