A Sermon Delivered by RUTH ANN STANTON, 8-19-1880, at the Westfield, Indiana, Conservative Friends Meeting
Previously Unpublished Material Transcribed from Archival Manuscripts by Tom Roberts, Made available to the editor by Edsel Burdge.
This is The Quaker Homiletics Online Anthology, Part 3: The 19th Century
I have felt particularly desirous that we may be found in our proper places. I suppose there are very few, if any, that are now present but are of the same mind, that these testimonies have been given as we believe to our forefathers in the truth to bear before the world and should still be maintained. That the Society of Friends has not entirely run out, only that these testimonies have lost their usefulness. Perhaps we are all of one mind in regard to these things. We know, dear friends, in the cross of our natural will to set apart from these things which we believe had a testimony and if pursued would ultimately bring about a state of things in the Society of Friends almost parallel to other religious organizations.
There are a few here and a few there who have felt it right to bear testimony as upheld in the rise of the Society. We feel today that we are very small, a weak feeble folk. Still we feel that these testimonies are precious to us; that we dare not suffer them to fall to the ground, because we shall be accountable in a coming day to Him, who I believe has assigned a place in the world and given us things to bear, perhaps different in some respects at least to what has been opened to the understanding of other religious denominations. While we accord to all the human family the privilege of worship according to the dictates of their conscience, we have felt bound to maintain the testimony of the Society of Friends. Testimonies as we believe have been delivered to us to maintain inviolate.
I wish to add to what I have said in the beginning that I believe if Friends are faithful there will still be a standard for truth upheld according to views of early Friends, and be maintained before the world. My friends, there will be others called to uphold these testimonies before the world for the sake of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of our souls. I desire we may be encouraged, that our hands may be strengthened.
The Lord knows the deep proving some of us have had to pass in order that we might maintain, though in a feeble manner, these precious testimonies. I do believe He will not suffer these altogether to fall to the ground, if, indeed, we are faithful on our part to discharge our several great duties.
It is important that we cherish kind desires for everybody, not only for those who see as we do, but every one, irrespective of their religious belief, if we do not this, we have not the spirit of Christ, and we are none of His. I desire that we may indeed see to it that we are daily in the light, walking with Christ. If we do this we shall have fellowship one with another and the love of Jesus Christ will be rich in our hearts, and will go out to all the human family every where. The reason we are here is for the love of Christ and the love of souls, to mingle with those who see as eye to eye in these important matters. Our hearts are warmed with the love that eminates from God and drawn out for the whole Human family.