A Sermon Delivered by THOMAS STORY, Date and Place Unknown.
The United Friend, Vol. 1, No. 4 (12th Month 15th, 1894,) pages 53-54.

This is The Quaker Homiletics Online Anthology, Part 2: The 18th Century.

Whatever the world may think of us who are called Quakers, or what we mean by sitting together in silence, professing at the same time, and from time to time under that circumstance, to worship God; we then wait for Him and upon Him in the inmost of our hearts, that we may be made sensible of the pure incomes and influence of His living and life-giving presence; that we may all perceive and enjoy Him in a state of reconciliation with Him *** Man may in his own will oppose the work of God in himself; he may reject His grace, and the holy work and teachings of it in his heart; he may do and follow his own will, and the dictates of his own corruption to his final desolation and destruction; he may do his own works to his own honor and self-praise and glory; but he can never, in his own will, time or strength, acquire [the] state of regeneration and reconciliation wherein alone there is communion with God, or the enjoyment of his presence.

This, I say, is the work of God by Jesus Christ: "For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil" [1John 3:8]*** In the love and mercy of the Father, the Son of God is come, as well at this day as in that generation, and will, from age to age through all generations, while sin is in the world, still come to destroy the work of the devil, and take away the sin of the world, and to bring forth mankind in His own nature and image, in righteousness and true holiness As it is written, "God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself," "of two making one new man, so making peace" [2 Cor. 5:19; Eph. 11:15.] And He is doing the same now, and ever will do, till the whole work of redemption and end of his coming be fully accomplished; as it is also left upon record as his own words, "I am come that they might have life and that they might have it more abundantly."**

The Lord knocks by His eternal Word, which is as a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces. And though He thereby reproveth, rebuketh, and chastiseth the transgressor, it is in Fatherly love and mercy, that the sinner may be made sensible of his sins and repent; for he that sees not his sins can never repent or forsake them.** Open, therefore, the doors of your hearts freely to the Son of God, believe in Him, bear his chastisements, forsake the evil of your ways; show your zeal for His glory and your own salvation, by a sincere repentance and a forsaking of every evil way; then, and not till then, shall you be admitted to the communion of the saints in God, the sanctified in Christ Jesus. Would you come to the holy supper of the Lord ?** The supper of the Lord is inward, in the heart and in the mind, where He himself appears. And blessed be His holy name, there are many here this day who know this by happy experience, through the mercy of God, that the promise of the Son of God is fulfilled in them: "I will come in to him and sup with him and he with me." You may observe that supping with the Son of God [implies] friendship and entertainment, liberty and mutual conversation and intimacy. And it strongly implies a real and delightful nourishing and supporting substance, to be partaken of and enjoyed. The Lord comes not empty handed, but bringeth with Him the dainties of the Father's house and table: Divine grace, a feast of immortal love.

He brings with Him the soul-supporting bread of Life Eternal, and new wine of the Kingdom.*** The Lord brings with Him that which is meat indeed, and drink indeed. The entrance of this Word gives life, and all his words are Spirit and life to the soul.** He bringeth Himself, and with Him all that is good and desirable and delightful-that Divine peace and satisfaction which the world and all things cannot give.

There is a natural substance, and a substance likewise which is spiritual. He told his disciples of old that except they did eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of Man they had no life in them. But said likewise: "It is the Spirit that quickeneth, the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life." "He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood dwelleth in me and I in him." [John 6:53,62,56.]

The soft, gentle, yet powerful words of the Son of God are spirit and life now as well as then, and ever will be throughout all generations. This is He, the Lord, who standeth at the door and knocks, and enters the willing heart, but not without His Divine and living substance.*** If we open the doors of our hearts thus to receive Him, He will come in, according to his promise of old, which is ever new unto all them who believe.

This is a real, experimental thing. There are many living witnesses of it at this day, through the Divine goodness, and to the sole glory of the Lord, by whom and from whom this blessing of blessings is come unto his people. All these excellent things the Son of God brings with him in his spiritual appearance; and there are no other conditions imposed, or any other thing required to be done by man to obtain them, but to. give ear to the voice of the Son of God, so as to open the door of his heart and let him in; and he who thus receiveth Him, with him receiveth all things. [Rom. 8:32.]

Some there are who have come often to meetings, and gone from meeting to meeting, and place to place, to hear and learn of men one notion of religion after another; and yet have not heard the voice of the Son of God, nor opened unto him; and, therefore, are ready to conclude there is no such thing; and so sit down and rest for a time in shadows and symbols only, in which life and virtue is not to be found *** until the time of the visitation of the Son of God come, and His call and invitation be heard in the heart. Then that soul begins to live, and can rest no longer there where the living Bread is not to be found, neither the living Water, nor the Wine of the Kingdom; and, therefore, hungereth, thirsteth and seeketh after the eternal, living substance. To such I have this exhortation in the words of the apostle: "Let us not be weary in well-doing; for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." [Gal. 6:9.] ***

A sense of want is an evidence of life: the dead have it not.** Sense of want, therefore, of hunger and thirst, is a foundation of true desire--an evidence, I say, of a degree of life: that the soul is living towards God, though dying to itself and the inventions and traditions of men.** A little child in nature, desireth the breast, and seeketh after it, though he cannot reason, or assign any cause why it is so; and yet, being obtained, is thereby nourished and increased from stature to stature, and one degree of strength to another, till capable of stronger food, and thereby becomes able, in time, to do work and service. Thus in naturals, and so in spirituals.***

A man naturally dead hath no sense of want or plenty, nor hath he any desire; but he who is alive, he who hath tasted of the goodness of God as it is in Christ the Lord, through the Holy Spirit, sometimes suffers want. He does not always abound with the sensible flowings of divine life in his heart and mind; and yet, continuing to desire after it, he is in a state of the blessed, and in due time shall obtain the desire of his soul. He shall be more plentifully filled, and yet not in his own time nor way; for thus it is written: "Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filed." [Matt. 5:6] So long, therefore "as a man believes in the Son of God, and desires His appearnce in the heart, he is in a degree of blessedness, and shall be filled with the Word of Life, the righteousness of God; with the light and life of the Lord our Righteousness, the Lord and Giver of life, the Prince of Peace, who ruleth and reigneth forever in eternal and never-changing love.***

Blessed are they who thus eat and drink in [the Lord's] presence; and yet more especially happy are they who continue so to do to their lives' end. Then all our troubles will be ended forever; and we shall rejoice in the blessed presence and open vision of God and the Lamb and rest with the Son of God; behold His glory and be entertained by Him with an everlasting feast, and regale of things unspeakable. Where all our tears shall be wiped away, our enemies seen no more, and our sorrows and travels here in this world forgotten forever. As it is also written, "Eye hath not seen nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him." [I Cor.-2:9; Isa. 54:4 to end.]