A Sermon and Prayer Delivered by WILLIAM PENN, In Wheeler-Street, April 13th, 1694.
Sermons by The People Called Quakers. A New Edition. London: Mary Hinde, 1775.

This is The Quaker Homiletics Online Anthology, Section One: The 17th Century.

The Sermon:

It is the great cause and work of God in which you are all concerned this day; now that all of you may see how you quit yourselves before the living eternal God your maker, and answer the visitations of his love in the discharge of your duty; that you may feel an answer of peace in your own bosoms, and find yourselves night, who were afar off; that you may all know yourselves nearer than when ye first believed, nearer to the Lord, nearer to his love, and more in his favour; that you may perceive your interest grow and increase, your divine, your eternal interest, that which will outlast the world, for it centers in that which shall never have an end: O Friends! It is the redemption of your immortal souls that the Lord God hath visited you for, it is in order to this; and all the religions in the world, articles, creeds, confessions, and professions that leave out this, are all imperfect and insignificant, and will not avail men in the great day of account.

Therefore see to it how the work goes on, the work of your redemption and salvation. Do you feel yourselves near to the Lord? Do you find yourselves to have more power in your souls? Do you know yourselves advanced in the work of God? Are ye come to die daily, to that which in contrary to the Lord? For as you die daily, you live that life you live in the flesh by the faith of the eternal Son of God Christ Jesus, who hath redeemed you from all iniquity, and called you to glory and virtue.

Now that you may all be faithful stewards of the grace, and mercy, and heavenly talents which God hath bestowed upon you, and be all found working, not idle in the Market-place; Christ Jesus the Lord hath not been wanting to you, he hath piped to you, have you danced? He hath mourned, have you wept? He hath called, have you answered his call? See to it this day, for the glorious power and presence of that god that visited you in the beginning, is here this day. It is his heart reaching power, his heart melting power, his divine sweet presence which brought us out of Pharaoh's house, and out of Egypt's land, and took us up by the hand, and led us peaceably to walk by the rivers of God's pleasures; I say, see to it this day, that your may answer the great love of God, that the Lord doth vouchsafe his heavenly presence in the midst of you, and lift up the light of his countenance upon you; that ye may be found answering his love, in his renewed blessings, that as he reneweth his mercies, you may renew your obedience, and as he renews his loving kindness, you may renew your thankfulness, that your souls may be filled with high praises for the Lord. They who obtained a deliverance by God's mighty arm and power, that brought his people out of Egypt's land into the wilderness , and through the Red Sea, and over Jordan's River, unto the banks of salvation; they who have received a marvelous deliverance from their spiritual enemies, do not hang their harps upon the willows, but rejoice and praise the living God; the resolve with the prophet, although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vine; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stall; and although there be plague, sword, fire, desolation, and destruction; yet we will rejoice in the Lord, we will joy in the God of our salvation. Is it so with you this day? Are you come into this divine fellowship, into this intimacy with the Lord, have you this holy frame of soul?

O ye sons and daughter of the morning! the everlasting day of God hath dawned upon you, that you may look into your hearts, and see how it is with you, and see your experiences, see the things that your eyes have seen, and your hands have handled; you have tasted the good Word of God, and known the operation of his power; these are things that they have that are children, not empty notions, but experiences. If we travel on we shall be enabled to overcome; and if we take unto us the whole armour of God, we shall be enabled to stand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand: and what is the reward of them that overcome? They shall eat of the fruit of the tree of life, that grows in the paradise of God; as many as are fed from this tree, and not to be standing idle, but work the works of God, and are brought to the paradise of God, and enjoy the delights of God, in the presence of God; and the Lord will fill and satisfy them with his divine goodness, and they shall grow and increase in the divine life more and more.

Consider how doth the work go on? Consider the Lord Jesus came in our natures, before he cometh into our hearts: now, Christ Jesus within us is the hope of glory, and the mystery that was hid from ages and generations is now revealed in us; Christ is now come, not only into our natures, but into our hearts, into our inward man; and with all those at the door of whose hearts he hath knocked, if they have opened to him and received him, he hath come to sup, and he hath given the bread of life, and the cup of salvation, and they have come into divine fellowship with him; and so they have eaten his flesh, and drank his blood, and fed upon that bread that comes down from heaven; and all that open the door and let him in, come to eat of this bread, and come to see him that is the desire of all nations, and the Light of the world, and they walk in his light.

This is an ancient testimony; when you were first turned to the Light of Christ, it was not a natural but a divine Light you were turned to, the Light of Jesus manifesting himself in us; in this Light you received him, and I desire to know what you have tasted, what further joy is there? What more excellent object, what more excellent mark than this, that the Light of the nations that we are come to walk in?

Here is divinity, here is that which was before the world began, here is made know the divine nature; it is testified here, that you might be partakers of it, that you might be a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people, that you should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light: see how this work advanceth in every one of you, that you may be faithful and improve your talents, that you may be able to give up your account to the Lord with joy, and not with grief; when you shall hear a voice saying, come, come away, there is no more time, the race (?) is run, then how joyfully wilt thou hear that voice, if thou hast not been idle, but working out thy salvation, and answering the callof God, and adoring him for his love to thy immortal soul: thou art not like Martha, cumbered about many things, but mindest the one thing needful, that good part that shall not be taken from thee. If you thus work out your salvation, it will be said unto you well done, not well taught, not well disputed, but well done good and faithful servants, enter you into the joy of your Lord.

My friends, time goes apace, and we are wearing off, and in a little while we shall be no more; time will be gone, and the day of your visitation quickly over; the thought and consideration of this hath affected me many a time. Look, friends, that you be all traveling on in your heavenly journey as a faithful people, and that the work of your salvation is carrying on, and that Christ is a redeemer to you, and that he doth deliver your from the dominion of sin, and the bondage of corruption: art thou free? Who hath made thee free? If the Truth hath made the free, if the Son of God hath made thee free, then art thou free indeed. If thou art made fry, thy knowledge will be accompanied with experience, and not notions only. You want not notions, but possession of inward freedom and liberty. Doth your knowledge of truth make you free from sin? O the tumblings and tossings that my soul was in! O the covenant-making, and the covenant-breaking! there was no peace, no rest because you were fallen, and because you did not know dominion and victory over sin, which is only by the life and Spirit of Christ Jesus, which will lead you into the path of obedience; then you will know that in Christ there is life, and this life is the Light of men, and the Light shineth in the darkness, and the darkness comprehendth it not: you have life only in Christ, and you have it in him as in the fountain; this you must know, that you may be delivered from sin; by this saving knowledge of Christ, and believing in him the all sufficient Saviour, you will come to reign as kings and priests, and sit with him in heavenly places. This will bring you to the general assembly and church of the first born which are written in heaven, and to God the judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel. Whatsoever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, and work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. Live as those that are concerned fro heaven and eternity; be faithful and diligent in your generation, that you may be rich towards God, rich in the love of God, and in peace with God: these are heavenly treasures, which moth and rust cannot corrupt, nor thieves break in nor steal from you: walk in the way of righteousness, and in the paths of judgment, that you may have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.

Friends, this is my exhortation to you, that you will keep near to the Lord, and live under his guidance and government, and rely upon Christ alone for salvation, and live in the Light, as becomes Children of Light. Trust to nothing that your fail you in the day of your dissolution, for then you will be under an everlasting disappointment; see that it be a true foundation that you build upon, and se what it is that you build upon it, that it be not hay and stubble that cannot stand the fire; build upon a right foundation, the eternal Word of God, and build right things upon it, that you may be always under the guidance, power, and government of the blessed spirit of the living God; that the exercise and desire of your hearts be towards the enjoyment of his living presence, of his pure power, and quickening spirit. This is a building which will abide the fire; this is building upon a right foundation. What is that? The Light of the Lord, the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Light of the World; here is the right foundation, let us be found in him, and keep close to the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the author of eternal salvation to all that obey him: this is the way to be preserved.

You that have got into a good state and condition, keep in it, and live near to the Lord, and you will feel his daily, his refreshing presence, and his assisting power to carry you on, and conduct you in your travel and pilgrimage, that you may not faint in the way, but in the end reap the crown of immortal glory, that God hath laid up for those that fear him.

My friends, it was the glorious Light of the Lord, and the Spirit of the living eternal God, by which you were visited in your early days; nay all the sweet enjoyments we have often had in this place, are fro the good Spirit of the Lord, and the Light of Life shining among us: praised and magnified be the Lord's everlasting power, that hath been extended to us. The Lord grant that that which was our Alpha, may be our Omega; that that which began to turn our hearts and minds God-ward, may watch over us, and continue with us, that we may be kept as an experienced people, a holy peculiar people, zealous of good works, that God may have all the honour and praise, to whom it belongs, who is God over all, who is worthy to be praised, adored, and magnified by us and all his people, henceforth and for ever and ever. Amen.

The Prayer:

Most glorious and infinite God of heaven and earth, in thy great and unspeakable mercy thy visitest the children of men, and extendest thy love from one generation to another; and yet in this age in which we live, thy day of grace and mercy reaches unto our souls, and we have been called by thee unto righteousness and holiness, that so it might be well with us, when we shall be removed out of this world, and be no more seen of men. Everlasting God, if we consider aright thy dealing towards us, the exceeding riches of thy grace in Christ Jesus, it may provoke us and constrain us to love thee, and fear thee, and serve thee in our generation. Lord thy visitation hath been effectual upon the hearts of many of the children of men, who are devoted to thy fear and service, and give up themselves to worship thee in the beauties of holiness: Lord thou hast gathered a people to thyself, and thou hast brought them through many trials and exercises, and refined them by a spirit of judgment, and they have been baptized with the Holy Ghost and with fire. O Lord God of life! thy mercy is exceeding great, and thy love unspeakable in all the dimensions of it; we pray that thou wilt be pleased to grant, according to the riches of thy glory, that we may all be strengthened with might by thy Spirit in our inner man, that Christ may dwell in our hearts by faith; that we being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints, what is the breadth, the depth, and height, and length, and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that we may be filled with all the fulness of God. Blessed Father of mercies, deliver us from this present evil world, and the corruptions and pollutions that are in it; let us not live as the children of this world, and those that are of it, but as those that are hastening out of it, to the coming of the day of God, and help us to grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath redeemed us from all iniquity; not with corruptible things, as silver and gold, but with his own precious blood, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot, that we might live to him that died for us, and be holy in all manner and conversation. O! let the lion of the tribe of Judah, deliver us fro the roaring lion of hell, that goes about seeking to devour us; make it our delight, O God! to do thy will, and let thy law be written in our hearts, that by patient continuance in well-doing, we may seek for honour, glory, immortality, and eternal life; and the while we are engaged in Christian warfare, we may take unto us the whole Armour of God, and resist the devil, and overcome the world, and be more than conquerors through Christ that hath loved us; that having fought the good fight of faith, we may lay hold on eternal life. And blessed and heavenly Father, for all thy abounding mercies and blessings vouchsafed to us and all thy people, and for the refreshing we have had from thy presence in our present meeting, we desire to render praise, honour, renown, and thanksgiving to thy great and excellent name, for thou alone art worthy, who art God over all, blessed for ever and ever. Amen.