Adam Spencer of Springford Ontario Canada, 11-16-1885, At An Appointed Meeting in Westfield, Indiana.
Previously Unpublished Material Transcribed from Archival Manuscripts by Tom Roberts, Made available to the editor by Edsel Burdge.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

The text of his address was John 3-7 "Ye must be born again." Whatever these words imply, they are very serious and important, for our Savior has said, "Except a man be born again he can not see the Kingdom of God." This was a matter of doubt to Nicodemus, and it may be to some of us, but we have need to believe. It is declared, "That he that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life, but he that believeth not on the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him." Now these are words of the Savior himself, and it is essential that we believe it; It is more essential that we witness, and experience this work that there should be no doubt left on our mind in respect to the matter; but that we should witness such an experience in this effort as to know that the Kingdom of God is within us. I am aware that people may listen with different views in the preaching of the gospel, they may very different objects in view in even going to meeting and listening to what is said in meeting. The Apostle said, "The Word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it." As it was in the days of the prophets and apostles those who come to hear for the purpose of criticism, they may if they would be honest, be moral at least, but I have known people to be captious with especial view to misapply and turn it to a wrong account. We cannot expect that such as these will be benefited and what will it all avail if they do not, with all their criticism see the Kingdom of God. If they never knew whereby they witness such a change. The New birth unfolds a change of conviction towards God. Instead of our being at enmity with Him, we delight to do his will and we so partake of the Spirit and character of the deer Son of God, this our meat and our drink to do the will of our Father with a concern to finish His work. The work appointed us to do. He said, I must work the works of Him who sent while it is day for the night cometh where in no man can work. We are to work out our souls salvation with fear and trembling before God. We cooperating Him in the work. We must pay close attention to the description of our blessed Lord in reference to being "Born Again." It is an invisible work, It may be described in the parable of the "leaven" and the meal." The Kingdom of Heaven is like unto "leaven" which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal until the whole was leaven. We know that the work of the "leaven" and the meal is an effectual work and as the meal cooperates with the "leaven" it all partakes of the character of the "leaven." This is something the Savior has drawn from, and almost every one knows something about it. In speaking of the "wind blowing where it listeth He says ye hear the sound there of, but cannot tell from whence it cometh or whether it goeth." It points to the fact of its being an invisible work for while we hear the sound we feel the effect but we do not see it. The wind unless accompanied with vapor we do not see. While we are prone to view and apprehend that they kingdom of Heaven may come with observation but our blessed Lord tells us that it cometh not be observation neither shall we be directed by the, "Low here is Christ and the low there is Christ for the Kingdom of God is within you." I am aware that men may scoff at certain ideas because they do not know the effectual work of the power of God, but while they are scoffing and setting in the seat of the scorner they are not in the way to enjoy the blessing, because, "Blessed is the man who walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly nor stand in the way of sinners, but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in the law doth he meditate both day and night." Unless our souls wills are brought into harmony with the Divine Will; if we are opposed to his righteous government with in us we will not delight in his law. I think it is said that the law of the Lord is a fountain of light preserved from the snares of death. We have heard many good things and we have had line upon line and precept upon precept and have we been benefited by it? As that work is wrought within us, so we love the law of the Lord, and love to meditate there on day and night and it is our meat and drink to do His will, if that is not brought about within us we can not claim to have any [lot] in the matter. When we do come to witness that change, all old things are done away and all things become new, a new creation where in we are created new in Christ Jesus unto good works. We are told that it is the obedient who shall eat of the fruit of the land. While we stand in rebellion against the will of God what hope can we have of inheriting the government of eternal glory, while in probation here on earth, while our souls and bodies are united and there is natural life. Unless we are brought into harmony with the Divine Will what hope can we have of rest and peace with God? If there is a disposition to cavil at the will of God and his blessed truth how can we expect to be brought into harmony with God our Savior. There seems to be something of a burden resting on my mind at this time, though a stranger to you as I am which I find difficult to present the truth of God in such a way as to be comprehended. Our Savior said to the people, "Except ye be converted and become as little children ye can in no wise enter the Kingdom of Heaven." A little child we understand is weak and sensible of need and nourishment to enjoy strength. It depends upon its helper for all its necessaries and unless we lay down our rebellion and be submissive as little children to the will of God we cannot expect that he will establish His Kingdom in our hearts. The Kingdom of God being within us He must be the ruler, unless God rules within us and directs our wills we are not in harmony with him and his kingdom is not established within us. A kingdom is where a king doth rule and unless King Emanuel reigns within us, we cannot expect to be his disciples. These are facts that cannot be controverted. When there is rebellion, when his subjects are in arms there is need of reconciliation, there is a disagreement.

While our minds are opposed to the will of God there is a disagreement and need for a reconciliation. If those die in their sins without a change where by his kingdom is established within us we never can dwell where he is, "Where I am yet never can come." There is a disposition on the part of some to question about the Kingdom of God being within, or that the Holy Spirit is in the heart and that the truth of God is misrepresented in many places especially in reference to the work being within us. We do not take cognizance of our composition as men and women. We are composed of a body and soul, the soul is within us and that soul is intelligent and morally capable of understanding. The intelligent really does not apply to the body for when the soul and body separate the body dies, but the soul lives and is immortal. There are some people who deny that the soul is immortal. I once read of a man who was a Christian and was tempted to disbelieve that his soul was immortal; he was so tempted that he sat down to meditate on this great question and while musing, the thought occurred to him to think back and see how far he could think back in the years that were past; he could find no end to the extension of his thought. The next question was to look forward in the years to come, and he could not find any stopping place his thoughts would go on and on until it satisfied of the immortality of the soul. Some men say the soul dies when the body dies, that he is like the beast that perish. There were some who advocated this idea in days past. I remember the language of one who sat on his dying bed in the greatest of agony cried mortality is doubtless immortal. There was the immortal spirit in pain and grief and anguish. I am firm in the belief if we pass from time to eternity without that preparation of which our Savior speaks of being "born again" our souls will pass away to that place which is prepared for the Devil and his angels. We are told that these shall pass away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal. While our souls, the immortal and intelligent, the wind is attached to the heart of which we read about in the scripture that is desperately wicked is the seat of the mind and from that heart proceeds the thoughts that are evil, thoughts we are thinking without that conversion or "New Birth." These thoughts are opposed to the will of God because our hearts are carnal and not "subject to the law of God neither indeed can be."

Therefore, they must be changed, so we are redeemed from corruptible things and vain conversation, not by silver and gold but by the blood of Christ, the Lamb without spot and without blemish. He bore our sins on the tree and will if we will allow him to work will destroy the power of the Serpent and bring about that salvation which we so much need. As we are opposed to the will of God, our thoughts are at variance to his righteous law and will not suffer him to reign over us. Stephan said to the Jews, "Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears ye do always resist the Holy Ghost." We are in league with the spirit that works in the children of disobedience, that cruel enemy, yet there was an atonement made for us which placed man in a capacity to receive salvation. "I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head and thou shalt bruise his heel." We are carnal and unborn while we stand opposed to God our creator. We are then in league with the friendship of the enemy. While we are in pursuit of happiness, the wicked one says we shall not be happy if we serve Lord Jesus Christ, therefore we are content to resist the will of God and follow in the way that the enemy suggests, or that the world would lead us into. Our own inclination, the friendship of the world, and the suggestion of the Evil One affects our hearts so we are unwilling to have the Lord reign over us and establish his kingdom within us. Remember it is our thoughts that are within, and proceed from the heart and therefore Satan has established his kingdom and we are his subjects. While we do his will he has dominion within us. Our souls are within our bodies and where Satan has his kingdom established in our hearts the work of God must begin. It is the felt power of Jesus, he is the second Adam the Lord from heaven, a quickening spirit through which we are brought to the understanding of the will of God. As we resist continually his work and go on and on in sin. I cannot see my friends, there is any salvation for man, although Christ has suffered and died, the just for the unjust that he might bring us to God, tasting death for every man as a propitiation for our sins. He is pleading with us in order to redeem us from iniquity and raise us a peculiar people, zealous of good works. He hath declared that heaven is his thrown and the earth his footstool. Earth is the place where we now dwell, and I verily believe that his thrown is a place of eternal glory where the redeemed are to dwell. These redeemed children who are upon the footstool, while still in the body is the day of our probation, unless there is a change wrought, and "born again" of the incorruptible Seed that live and abide forever we never can expect to inhabit that Kingdom of eternal glory.

These are solemn thoughts to me and I have known what it is to cry in my soul Who can dwell in the everlasting portion, having had a foretaste of this terror and was made to humble myself before my God and plead for pardon. It was a felt work, some thing that the sinner feels. They do not feel this when at variance to the will of God. If we still continue to resist his righteous law I cannot see but we must go away into that fire "where the worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched." But if we will yield to our Savior, who is Jesus, he will save us by his baptism of the Holy Ghost. With fire that is not quenched until all that is evil and corrupt is consumed and made willing to submit to the righteous law of God and become humble as little children. This is that conversion that is so essential, a condition in which we can sacrifice to God a broken and contrite heart crying, Thou wilt not despise this, the work wrought within us, and we may witness what the Psalmist says in a few words, "I waited patiently for the Lord; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry?" He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock and established my goings. And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God. Many shall see it, and fear and shall trust in the Lord," this New birth, or new creation we have to possess before we can be saved. This change we will need to witness, and unless we do witness and know ourselves here in the body how do we ever expect to inherit a home in the eternal Kingdom of God our Father. The redeemed in heaven glorify him now I do firmly believe. We do not behold him here. He is invisible. The Apostle speaks in the body he is eternally invisible, yet not far from everyone of us.

Our souls are invisible, and our thoughts are not visible yet we may see the visible effect of our thoughts when put in action. There is an invisible work going on with us, a felt work that cannot be seen. Men may be honest by things they see and hear, things that they observe yet lost its innocency. Adam transgressed his divine nature; that intelligence was no more innocent but depraved and that has need to be changed, when this is done there is a new creation and good works follow to glorify God. These to me, are solemn thoughts. I desire that we may all come to understand and become as little children, feeling our need of our Heavenly Fathers care. Like the Prodigal Son who spent his substance in riotous living, feeling his [lost] and undone condition, we will not be likely to criticize or try to pervert, or find out some new way under which we may hide and evade the will of God. This prodigal son said "How many hired servants of my fathers have bread enough, and to spare, and I perish with hunger, I will arise and go to my father." My friends there was a change, a desire, instead of being at enmity with him the father received him gladly. He did not expect to return as a son but as an hired servant, but the father restored him and made him son and heir and rejoiced over him, "because this my son was lost and is found" and our Savior tells us "there was more joy over one sinner who returned than over ninety and nine just persons who need no repentance".

It is our privilege dear friends to call him "Our father who art in heaven hallowed be thy name" and what a blessed relationship if we come to utter and feel it. He is mourning over the lost and ruined condition of the world. He so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life, for God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved". This is the condemnation, that light is come in to the world and men love darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil" My friends, the love of God the Father was so great that he was willing to spare not his Son but delivered him up for death Will he not give us all things? He will not withhold any thing from us unless it is hurtful like the things of a worldly nature. Parents will not refuse a child any thing that will be good for it. So it is with our Father in Heaven. It is love that condemns us only that he may turn us from the evil way that we might live. "As I live" saith the Lord God "I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but the wicked turn from his way and live". As I think of these things and remember how I traveled in the broad way that leads unto death, I could not rest, and felt great sorrow because I sinned against Him; that sorrow He required and when it was deep enough to cause me to forsake my sins and plead for mercy He heard my cry. He is not partial but in "every nation he that fear him and work righteousness is accepted with him". I have no desire to speak any thing but of God. I did not leave my home to come and testify to any thing but what I apprehended to be the gospel of Christ. There is no more solemn thought that we must be "Born Again". Except we are born again we cannot see the Kingdom of God. There is a joy in being the Lords people. Jacob is the [lot] of his inheritance he found him in a desert land and in the waste howling wilderness. He led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye, as an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings taketh them, [beneath them on her wings. So the Lord alone did lead him, as we look back to the day when God found us in that desolate condition can we sufficiently praise and extol his worthy name? The Psalmist says "Bless the Lord O my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name, and forget not his benefits, who forgiveth all thine iniquities, who healeth all thy diseases, who redeemed thy life from destruction,, who crowneth thee with loving kindness and tender mercy who satisfieth thy mouth with good things so that thy youth is renewed like the eagles." If we come to this new birth as his children we will praise him and desire to praise him while we live and have our being among the sons of men, praise him as the Psalmist wrote in all that we do, praising him continually in our conversation and on our lips that we may be acceptable in the sight of our God. These are my feelings. I believe I may take my leave of you, that we may all avail ourselves of the privilege of the gospel. In a few more days we shall be called from earth away and may it be to enjoy that eternal glory with the redeemed.