Notes of a Sermon Delivered by SAMUEL TUKE, ca. 1848.
Memoirs of Samuel Tuke, With Notices of Some of His Ancestors and Descendants. London: Printed for Use of the Family Only, 1860, Vol. 2, pages 362-364.
This is The Quaker Homiletics Online Anthology, Part 3: The 19th Century.
We know, too, that these words were made use of by our Lord, in a more immediate sense, as
referring to that great spiritual power by which man's nature might be changed, and his soul fitted
for an entrance into that celestial kingdom, into which we all desire to enter. And he spoke of this
kingdom being come; this power being at work in them now. The forerunner of Jesus had
preached that men everywhere should repent, "for the kingdom of heaven is at hand;" but our
Lord says, the kingdom of heaven is come, is within you; not coming, but already with them. This
kingdom, which prophets had foretold, and which men in all ages had longed after, and which all
the types and symbols of the Jewish worship had shadowed forth, was come. The Mosaic
economy, which consisted so much in outward observances, with all the circumstantialities of the
law, was now to be done away; for the kingdom of heaven is within you; the substance is here. "It
is not possible," said the apostle, "that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sin." The
Jews, indeed, still looked for some greater outward appearance, something which corresponded
more to their views and expectations; but "The kingdom of heaven cometh not with observation."
As the apostle said to the Hebrews, "We are not come to the mount which might be
touched"--the outward tangible mount--"and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness and
darkness and tempest," the sight of which was so terrible, that even Moses is said to have
exceedingly feared and quaked, "But ye are come unto Mount Sion, and unto the city of the living
God, the heavenly Jerusalem," &c. and to the blood of sprinkling, which speaketh better things
than that of Abel (which called for vengeance from the ground). We are not, then, come to these
outward terrors, and signs, and thunderings; but the apostle says ye are come, not ye are to come;
the true believer was already come to Jesus, the Mediator of tho new covenant.
The kingdom of heaven is spoken of as a power which must work in the heart of man; and our Saviour often compared it, in parabolic language, to many things familiar to those he was addressing:--"The kingdom of heaven is like leaven which a woman took and hid (that is buried) in three measures of meal, until the whole was leavened." And so the power of God works in the heart, leavening our clayey natures, gradually moulding them, and bringing them into the form which he would have them to be in. "The kingdom of heaven is like leaven," said our Lord to those who followed him, and he who was the bread which came down from heaven is ready to leaven the whole lump of our evil nature, and bring us to the thing itself--to true holiness. The kingdom of heaven within you, cannot be compared to the deeds of our lands or wealth, but rather to the land and wealth themselves. Oh how slow men have been to comprehend this; to understand that "The kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." 'Tis not words, 'tis not forms, 'tis not professions, Friends, that we want, but the substance. It is a grievous thing that men should have fed so much on the husks and shells, that they should have been so drowned in controversy and books of commentary, instead of coming to drink of the true water of life. And it was the sense of this, he consciousness that they needed the substance, and that the husks and shells could not satisfy them, which distinguished those whom we are accustomed to call our predecessors. And it is not a high veneration for those worthies--for worthies they were--which can constitute us their descendants. We must (each) know experimentally for ourselves that for which their souls thirsted, and which they found. They did indeed ask, and to them it was given; they did indeed seek, and it was given to them to find that which we must all individually and experimentally find, if ever we would come to Mount Sion, and to the innumerable company of angels, and to the spirits of the just made perfect, and to Jesus, the Mediator of the new covenant. What says the sweet Evangelist John? For we know not-(what a lesson to vain curiosity !) for we know not what we shall be; but we know that we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. Oh that this true logic were more considered; that we did more fully believe that if we would see him as he is, we must be like him; that without likeness, there cannot be union; that it is impossible there should be sight without likeness. "To as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God." We must feel our need of a Saviour, before we can profit by a Saviour. We must repent, before we can experience the blood of sprinkling, and know that joy and peace which are in the Holy Ghost. We must be made sons and daughters on earth, members of that kingdom of heaven which may be said to have come down to earth (for where God is, there is heaven), before we can form any part of the hierarchy of heaven, or join the spirits of the just made perfect, who consort with the innumerable company of angels, and with God and the Lamb, for ever."