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Previously Unpublished Material Transcribed from Archival Manuscripts by Tom Roberts, Made available to the editor by Edsel Burdge.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
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.