A Sermon and Prayer Delivered by GEORGE WHITEHEAD, In Grace-Church Street, October 4th, 1693.
Sermons by the People Called Quakers. A New Edition. London: Mary Hinde, 1775.

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

The Sermon:

The great God who made Heaven and earth, the God of our salvation, hath prepared a sacrifice for himself in the hearts of a remnant, whom he hath gathered by the arm of his mighty power, and hath kindled that sacrifice that is of his own preparing; and this to a remnant, is a manifest token of the love of God, and of his divine and special providence for their safety and preservation that trust in him, and that are sincerely devoted to his service and fear, and that walk in humility before him; and. this, my friends, is matter of weighty and tender concernment upon my spirit, to mind all of you that come to our Meetings, and hear the Truth declared from time to time, that you seriously confider the great work that the Lord is about to bring to pass, that every one should wait for, that they may feel his mighty power preparing their hearts for himself, and raising up breathings and supplications to him, that is a God hearing prayers that are offered in uprightness and sincerity from a broken heart and a contrite spirit, which are sacrifices that the Lord hath regard to: and as it was said of old, when Manoah took a kid with a meat offering, and offered it upon a rock unto the Lord, and the angel did wonderously, and Manoah and his wife looked on; for it came to pass, when the flame went towards heaven from off the alter, that the angle of the Lord ascended in the flame of the alter, and Manoah and his wife looked on and fell on their faces to the ground, and Manoah said to his wife, we shall surely die, because we have seen God. But his wife said unto him, if the Lord were pleased to kill us, he would not have received a burnt offering and a meat offering at our hands,m neither would ha have shewed us all these things. He would not have manifested so great a love to us; surely a remnant may say at this day, from a sense of the great things that the Lord hath shewn us, and of his blessed power working in their hearts and inward parts, a tenderness and subjection to him, that we owe obedience to the Lord, and we believe that the Lord intends good to his people, in that he will exalt his name in us, and prosper his own work of righteousness, that righteousness may be exalted, that many may come to behold the great things, and the worthy things which the Lord our God will bring to pass in our day.

These things have been foretold for the encouragement, and for the strengthening of the faith of those whole faces are Sion-ward, whose Eyes are turned towards the Lord their maker, who have tasted in some measure of the power, and of the goodness of the Lord our God, that they may continue in the faith, whereby their hearts may be drawn after the Lord; that those who have been made partakers of the true and living faith of the Son of God, in his name and power, may keep the faith, and not let go the faith; that they may hold fast the profession of their faith without wavering, that the enemy may not be suffered upon any account, either to weaken or destroy the faith of any, who have known some degree of faith in the work of God, and concerning his goodness, and special care and providence for the safety, and for the preservation of them that fear him; who are the called of the Lord, who are chosen out of the world, and out of the corruptions of it, that they may be a living and a peculiar people, and a chosen generation, to shew forth the praise of him that hath called them out of darkness into his marvelous light. He hath called us, and chosen us for that very end, that in our lives and conversation we might answer his call of grace, and the Truth that we are made Partakers of, and thereby shew forth his praise; and such now, have cause to bless the Lord, and praise his holy name, for all his mercies for preserving of them, and helping them in their way, and in their spiritual journey and progress that they are brought into.

Therefore, dear Friends, be ye concerned, and be inward with the Lord, and attend upon him without distraction, that nothing may hurry, discompose, nor distract your minds, or turn them about from the faith, truth and confidence you have in the Lord; which he hath gathered his people into, that every one may be exercised in a watchful state, and in lowliness and humility, and look unto, and depend upon the Lord for strength, for help, and power to enable us to stand against all the wiles of Satan, that none may be led into any extreme from the sense of truth, and from a feeling of that power that doth prepare the heart for God and fix it upon him; that none may be drawn out, either into carelessness, negligence, slothfulness, or presumption on the one hand, or into diffidence, or distrustfulness, or despair on the other; but that all may look unto Jesus who is the author and finisher of their faith, that they may be sensible of the benefits of his death on earth, and of his intercession in Heaven, of the effect and benefit of his prayer unto the Father; that their faith when they shall be tried and tempted may not fail, that all may witness and partake of this that he told unto Peter, I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not, Satan hath desired to winnow thee (to toss thee and blow thee about) but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith may not fail.

So, my Friends and friendly people, let your Faith stand in that power that hath gathered you, in that arm of the Lord that he hath made bare, and stretched forth to bring a people to himself; that every one may live by faith, and have their dependance upon the Lord for strength and for relief, that they may partake of the immediate influence of his Spirit, which he is ready to minister, and communicate to those that are given up to serve the Lord; that your prayers and supplications may be in the spirit, to that God that poureth out a spirit of grace and supplication upon his people; and he is daily pouring out his holy Spirit upon his people, that their prayers and supplications may reach to him, who is a God hearing prayer; that they may be prevalent with God, for the preservation of themselves and others, and for the good of all nations, that they may awaken many to repent, and seek the Lord, while he may be found, and call upon him while be is near, that they may be turned from the evil of their ways, and from the many provocations, whereby the inhabitants of the earth have greatly incurred the displeasure of God, and that they may be sensible how ready the Lord is to tarn away his wrath from them.

This is the desire of the hearts and souls of a remnant, on the behalf of many whom the Lord will yet visit and reach unto, and call out of the dark ways and by-paths of sin and corruption, that they may be brought into a capacity to know the way of truth, and righteousness, and peace. And my friends, while people are sensible that there are true breathings and desires after God, and that there is a particular travail of soul for the good of a nation; and for the converting of sinners from the evil of their ways, this is a sign that God is waiting to be gracious. He may visit a people and nation with chastisements and judgments; yet I am sensible it is for his peoples sake, even a remnant that he hath gathered out of the empty professions and forms that are in the world, that the Lord is still waiting to be gracious, and extending his patience and long-suffering, that he may convince them, humble them, and overcome them with his love, and when he corrects and punisheth, yet he hath reserves of mercy for them, if they will repent and turn from sin, and humble themselves under the mighty hand of God, that he may in due time exalt them, and bring them from under the weight of their iniquities, and the guilt of their transgressions, that they may receive mercy for his names Sake, and for his dear son's sake.

This is the breathing, and the travail of the souls of a remnant, and we may truly say, the Lord hath left a seed, a small remnant that look to him and trust in him, though a people and nation have sinned against the Lord, who otherwise had been as Sodom and Gomorrah, if God had not left us a seed; yet for sake of a little seed, even for the sake of the worm Jacob, that wrestled with him by prayer and supplication, the Lord hath spared many, and waited to be gracious to them. They are truly a people that are a praying people, that have the advantage of all others; yet I do not condemn all forms of profession, there are some that have a secret sincerity, and a fear of God, and a desire after the Lord, that are as sheep scattered upon the barren mountains, that yet the Lord will gather; there are those that have a secret longing and thirsting after the living God, that desire to know the things that belong to their peace; there are other Sheep of Christ which are not of this Fold, them also will he bring home, that they may know where the green pastures are, and be led by the still waters, and find relief and refreshment from the Lord.

Therefore all those that the Lord hath gathered and preserved, and kept to this moment, and helped supplied them, and continued his mercy to them, should be thankful and sensible of his living kindness, that by an invisible power hath given them comfort and refreshment while they have been waiting on him; let their minds and hearts be still fixed upon the Lord, and staid on him, and he will preserve them in quietness and peace; and they shall know he will shew his providence with them, that their bread may be sure, and their waters may not fail, the Lord will preserve them to the end of their days, in humility and lowliness, wherein they may be capable of instruction, and by his holy Spirit he will lead them in the way they should walk; those that come unto the Lord with weeping and supplication, the Lord will lead by the rivers of water in a plain way, where they shall not stumble. The Lord our God hath prepared a sacrifice, and he will accept that sacrifice which is of his own preparing, and: this, I say to a remnant, is a manifest token of his love.

God Almighty preserve you, and bless the labours of his servants among you, who labour in the word and doctrine, and in the Gospel of your salvation whilst they are among you, that you may know the goodness of the Lord, that waiteth to be gracious, and have renewed experiences of his love; and observe for your encouragement, the tender care he is pleased to manifest towards his heritage, both in this and other places; we have great cause humbly to be thankful to God for what favours we enjoy, and to be diligent to make the best improvement we can of all the seasons of grace, and opportunities for working out our own salvation, which the Lord is pleased in his abundant mercy to afford unto us.

The Prayer:

Glorious and blessed God, who art the God of all grace and mercy, and of all our helps and preservations; unto this moment thou haft been with us, unto this day we have had thy gracious Presence with us, even in the needful Time; thou haft: gathered us to be a peculiar people unto thee; thy presence is the very life of our meetings, and the beauty and glory of our assemblies, wherewith from time to time thou hast succoured and relieved and revived thy people, whose eyes have been towards thee, and whose expectations have been from thee, to be supplied by thy bountiful hand, with those living, divine, and heavenly supplies, wherewith thou hast from time to time relieved thy people, the poor and needy, those whose souls are bowed down in deep humility in thy sight and presence, so that, powerful Father of life we have great cause to remember thee in thy ways; we have cause to fear thee, O Lord! and to think upon thy name; we desire to wait upon thee, and cry to thee, and breathe after thee, and trust in thee; we bless thee for the continuance of thy love and goodness, for thy renewed blessings and multiplied favours; we have abundant cause to bless, and praise, and honour thee, O Lord! to magnify thy great and excellent name, for thy love and great goodness for making bare thy mighty arm, and stretching it forth to help the helpless, and to relieve and support the poor and needy, whose trust is in thee, whose confidence thou haft raised up by thy power, to stand in thy presence. O righteous powerful Father of Life! gather thy people more and more into an inward sense, and feeling, and experience of thy power and goodness, that their hearts may be engaged to thyself, to walk before thee in an holy awe and reverence, and with such sincerity, humility, lowliness, and tenderness of heart, as become those that have the enjoyment of thy presence, and as become our solemn meeting, and appearing before thee from time to time; that all thy people who are called by thy grace, who are convinced and persuaded of thy blessed truth, may be truly and livingly awakened, and stirred up, into a sense of thy glorious power; that they may know what it is to appear before thee, and how they ought to come before thee, the most glorious, and most high and holy God, who inhabiteth eternity, dwellest in the highest heavens, and yet hast a place in the lowest hearts; in the hearts of those that with true reverence, and holy Fear, desire to worship thee with such a frame of spirit, and temper of mind and heart, as thou requirest in all them that approach thy presence: we beg the influence of thy grace and divine Spirit, that we may be thereby comforted and refreshed; and vouchsafe unto us, O Lord! such sweet incomes of thy love, and such renewing of thy blessing, as may settle and establish our minds and hearts in a sense of thy goodness, and of thy power and presence; that we may not be shaken in our minds, nor weakened in faith and confidence in thee by any temptation whatsoever; that, Lord God eternal, the hearts of thy people may be fixed, trusting in thee, and in thy blessed name and power, and find safety and preservation; that all thy people every where, may be sensible that thou art their dwelling place, as thou haft been in all generations. And so, Lord God eternal, let them dwell in thee, and do thou dwell in them, and say, this is my habitation, for I have desired it; that, blessed Father of life, they may be sensible of thy love in it, that no calamities, nor distresses, nor sword, nor famine, nor necessities, nor afflictions, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, may be able to separate them from thy love in Christ Jesus. O Lord! thy People may say to thee, as Israel said of old, if it had not been the Lord who was on our side, when men rose up against us, then they had swallowed us up quick, when their wrath was kindled against us, then the waters had overwhelmed us, and the stream had gone over our souls. Our help is in thee, O Lord! that made heaven and earth; thy name, and thy power, and thy mighty power have appeared for us, and compassed us about; thou hast surrounded thy people with thy favour as with a shield, and hast preserved them, for the praise and the honour of thy name, and hast preserved them, for the praise and the honour of thy name, and the exaltation of thy holy truth; and the confidence and trust of a little remnant is, that thou wilt still be with them, for their confidence is in thy name, which is a strong tower, and their dependance is upon thee; thou wilt not cut off a people which thou hast appointed for thy praise, thou wilt not destroy them, but surround them with thy mercy and salvation, as with walls and bulwarks about them; this is the belief and confidence that thou hast raised in the hearts of a remnant. Therefore, O Lord! we have cause to wait upon thee, and continually to trust thee in thee, and breath and cry unto thee, for thy whole heritage; for all them whom thou hast gathered by the arm of thy power, that they may be preserved faithful to the end of their days, that they may be saved from the evils, and pollutions, and corruptions of the world, that they may be obedient to thy call, and to thy heavenly counsel, that they may come to wait upon thee, and hearken to thy voice, as those that are willing to obey, and not to touch any unclean thing; but being sensible of thy goodness, thou wilt turn away thy wrath from them that run from their provocations; for this end thouj hast raised desires and breathings, and begotten a travail in the souls of a remnant of the sons and daughters of men, particularly for the land of our nativity. We pray both for high and low, rich and poor, rulers and people, that by thy powerful visitation, they may be excited to seek the Lord, and to wait upon thee, and walk in humility in thy sight and presence; that they may desire none in heaven but thee, and none upon earth in comparison of thee. Work an effectual deliverance, and salvation for us both inward and outward,, that our confidence may not be in any thing below thyself. Let every one of us have an understanding, and an eye opened for the light of truth, that we may look unto thee, and expect salvation from thee, by Jesus Christ our mediator and redeemer. Remember all thy people here, and elsewhere, that are recommended to thee; keep them in a sense of thy power, and in humility before thee, that they may receive comfort, and wisdom, and instruction from thee, and do thou graciously establish their goings, and keep them in the way wherein they are to walk, the way of truth and righteousness, life and peace: be thou known in the assemblies of all thy people, and revive and strengthen them, and be with all thy people in their respective families, that they may be engaged to serve thee, and fear thee, in sincerity and humility, and call upon thy name; that thou, Lord God everlasting, mayst take care of them, and thy special providence may watch over them, and let the angles of thy presence pitch their tents about all them that fear thy name. Blessed and everlasting father of mercies, dwell among us, hide and secure us under the shadow of thy wings, that we may enjoy communion with thee, through Jesus Christ thy dearly beloved son, and our alone saviour; and offer up living sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving unto thee, the God of all our mercies, blessings, and deliverances, for thou alone art worthy, who art God over all, blessed forever and ever. Amen.