A Sermon Delivered by JOHN WILKINSON at the Chapel in Hemmings Row, October 11, 1832.
Wilkinson, John. Four Sermons Preached in London, 1832. London: Hamilton & Adams; E. Fry; Bristol: Wright and Bagnall, 1833, pages 28-53.

This is The Quaker Homiletics Online Anthology, Part 3: The 19th Century.

My beloved friends, my heart is warmed with an earnest desire for the personal welfare of every individual here present. Placed in life with millions of others, we are all liable to consider life, as though it were some vegetative property common to all; and we are all liable, by our carnal and sensual dispositions, to seek paramountly, those things which relate to the enjoyment of this present life. We know that this is our tendency, and it is this which leads us away from God, to be satisfied with ourselves, and with our own enjoyments. But against this, the whole stress, if I may so speak, of the divine counsel is directed; and we may, therefore, well conceive the danger of it. In reading the New Testament from beginning to end, if any one were enquired of, as to what he found to be the general purport of its contents, he might indeed answer, it shows that man is a fallen creature, debased, corrupted; ever tending to be satisfied with that which contributes to his personal ease and enjoyment however much it may be contrary to the law of God; but that to cure this tendency, and to atone for his innumerable offences, God, whose laws have been broken, hath, notwithstanding, so loved man, that he sent his only begotten Son, that poor fallen man should not perish in the pursuit of his natural tendency, and in giving way to his Corrupt and selfish inclinations, but that through a living faith in him, who gave himself for man, he might be raised from his corruptions--his sins, being atoned for, should be forgiven, and that a sense of forgiveness should fill him with gratitude, that he might serve God with the heart; and instead of seeking his own things, and indulging himself in his own inclinations, he should be desirous to know and to perform the will of God. How great then, is the importance, for every one of us, my beloved friends, whatever be our condition in life, whatever our station, that we should avail ourselves of that salvation which God hath so mercifully provided--salvation--the being saved--the being redeemed. Saved from what?--from our natural condition. Redeemed, in what way?--a ransom being given for lawful captives. O my beloved friends; we have rebelled against God, and we cannot by any means estimate the demerit of our sins and rebellions, because in order to this, our minds must be inconceivably more capacious than they are, and more clear than they are; we cannot tell the depth to which we are fallen, and we cannot tell or conceive the base nature in which we are involved, from our connexion with that enemy of God and man, by whom we are led captive, and are contented to be captives, straggling now and then perhaps, with much impatience, when we find some particular pressure from the chains and fetters with which we are bound by nature; and by our own acquiescence in that which is really contrary to the divine law; but still, so long as the inconvenience and the pressure of the chains do not exceed that to which we have been accustomed, we are too ready to allow ourselves to be dragged along in them. See the poor worldly-minded man, he is wound round and round, and round and round with bonds, but they press equally upon him; they squeeze and contract him more and more; but yet so far from struggling to get rid of that which is, as it were, squeezing the very life out of him, if he has any, he is satisfied to go on, so long as that he may not be losing anything which may-gratify his selfish disposition; or if he force himself to make some resistance on some special occasion, for the sake of appearance, and to keep up a fair show and reputation in the sight of men, he will make some sacrifice of that which in his heart he loves, in order that he may obtain that which may give him a more special relish to the things which he does possess and still hopes to possess. But if he were really assured, and he perfectly knew that no mortal man would give him any credit at all for that which he might sacrifice, he would keep it close enough to him, and never dream of sacrificing it; and why? Why because his heart is set upon the things of this world, and his affections are not set upon things above; and who can estimate the debasement of such a state of mind? Is it not in union and communion with the spirit of evil, however much outward decency may be observed? Place that man in a situation where it were not necessary for him to observe the outward restraints which he now compels himself to observe, and he would-throw off every restraint; all he would enquire would be, how can I satisfy myself in the attainment and enjoyment of those things which property and good fortune have placed within my reach. This would be his practical enquiry, and this is indeed his practical enquiry; let him be placed where he will, so long as health and fortune would serve him in any country where he might happen to be placed, there would he indulge himself in those things, which in that country would be deemed lawful and proper--and why? The laws of God are immutable, and if he served God his eye would be continually directed unto him and unto his law; but as he serves not God in his heart, so his eye is directed to his fellow-creatures, and he is restrained only by what they may say of him, or by what his bodily feelings may induce him to observe; or by a sense, and consideration of what relates to his outward fortune may induce him to observe; and these are the outward restraints which keep him in that particular form perhaps of the profession of religion, or of outward decency which he observes. But is the law written in the heart of such a man, my beloved friends; and does he desire to read that law? No, he would continually turn his eyes from it, and go to the Scriptures, sometimes even for the very purpose of finding out, as he has perhaps some glimmering of notion that there may be some authority in the Scriptures, only to find out how far he might trench so as not to run an unwarrantable risk of damnation.

Dear friends, here then is the natural man. I trust that I have not overcharged the picture. It is truly a mere outline, and not colored or filled up; but it is a tremendous picture; and from such a state, we may well cry, O God, in thy tender mercy deliver us. And for this very purpose, for the purpose of deliverance from this state, God hath given his beloved Son. We are not, then, to consider salvation as a little thing, as something that we may indeed lay hold of, and that it is our due or right, and what we have every reason to suppose we might expect and claim; neither are we to think, that if we go on with moderate care; use circumspection in our ways; take care not to break any particular rules that would expose us: to the observation of those by whom we are surrounded, and might set a bad example, that we may go on very safely, and have a glorious reward at last. A reward, for what? For pursuing a mere line of policy, when the heart is estranged from God? And what is to be this reward? The being in the presence of God conscious that we are in his presence. And what then? What reward would that be to us, if we have not it in his glorious image; have no union, nor communion With him; have no delight in him, or his holy laws; having governed ourselves in a certain way, so as that we fancy we may escape that sentence which we fear might bring us into suffering or distress? But there is no desire after God, nor any real and filial seeking unto him, that we may serve him as a son would serve a kind and gracious father. No, the desire is concentrated in self, which is the very essence of the fall; the heart remains selfish, unsubdued, unchanged; the appearances of our outward conduct may indeed change in a variety of ways; but still the change is not that which affects the disposition of the mind; for it is still selfish; downward, downward is the direction of the heart and the affections. "Marvel not," said our Lord, "that I said unto you, ye must be born again;" And, O how great, how unspeakable, the .mercy, that there is such a provision for us; how unmerited the grace. Yes, my beloved friends, the gift is unspeakable; and my affectionate and earnest desires for every one of us are, that we, through his grace, who beheld ns in mercy, may be enabled to perceive this goodness and to feel his love; that our hearts may be wrought upon by the love of God, and not by fear or cautious policy. True, we may well be drawn by fear, because there is absolute need for us ,to be afraid of the natural course in which we may long have been indulging ourselves. But then, my beloved friends, we are not to be driven by fear into despair; this is the very essence of the gospel; the glad tidings which are made known unto us, that poor and weak, blind and debased as we are by nature, and as we have increased our debasement by voluntarily, and with more or less deliberation, violating the law of God; yet that, not withstanding, God hath so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but should have everlasting life. But how are we debased by nature? Are we not formed as God hath been pleased to form us? Why is there so much talk on this subject? Why may we not fairly expect that, being placed 'upon a proper level, we may quietly go on, and pursue a steady path of virtue, and thereby gain acceptance with God? Why are we to be told so much about the debasement of our nature? But what do the scriptures teach us, my beloved friends? And what are the facts? The scripture teaches us, not here and there, in a few isolated expressions, but it must be considered as the general doctrine of the Scripture--that we are by nature, children of wrath even as others. And what is the fact? See what man naturally inclines to. We see that his natural tendency is constantly selfish; and that his natural dispositions have no tendency to cure the selfishness. No; even when there is the hope of the gospel; when there, is real gratitude; in the heart to God, for his unspeakable gift, still real and persevering is the warfare required against the natural tendency. And what is this, but the corruption of the heart? Yes, we are fallen creatures, my beloved friends, we are not placed upon that level which some would: contend we are. If we were, hath not he who came to save us made au unnecessary sacrifice? And how can we be otherwise than utterly ungrateful to God, if, instead of accepting his, gift, we be ready to turn away and say, we had no need of this gift; thou hast made us as it pleased thee, and therefore, what necessity was there for thee to provide redemption for us? In what condition must that mind be, whose practical language would be after this sort? Where is salvation in this case? Where can there be, and on what principle can there be joy, unspeakable joy in the presence of the infinitely holy God? It is the rejection of his blessed gift, and therefore there is no wonder, that in the holy Scripture so much stress is laid upon believing. "This is the work of God," said our blessed Saviour, "that ye believe on him whom he hath sent." And when the poor terrified jailor cried out, what must I do to be saved? the answer was, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved. Innumerable other instances, as pointed, might be selected from the holy Scriptures. But the general tendency of the whole is such, as to show the absolute necessity of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. And unless we be fallen creatures--for if we be not fallen creatures; and if we be not offending and rebellious creatures; if we have not joined ourselves to the enemy of God--for what purpose is redemption provided? And in what consists that salvation which is by Jesus Christ? What is the use of, and what can be the benefit of his great sacrifice? And we find continually, that men who speak lightly of this unspeakable gift, have their resource in softening down almost to nothing, the sins of mankind. They will say, why, it is very likely that men should sin; they are placed in this world, in order that they may learn how to estimate the blessings and glories of a future world; that they may gain experience as they go along; that they may increase in virtue; and it is but likely that they should commit a few faults; but these may be corrected with a little attention, and proper care. And, therefore, as to the idea of these faults being remembered against them, when they have turned their hearts to virtue, it is not consistent with the idea of a merciful God.

Alas! how do men err. How does the covetous and sensual man err. Look at the poor wretched mortal, who has set his heart upon the things of this world: and why does he set his heart upon the things of this world? If he were placed upon the level which is spoken of, why should he plunge himself into the pit? And why might ho not turn his eyes unto the glories of that which is transcendently excellent, and rejoice in the hope of union and communion with God? Why, because he does not love God; he has no inclination towards him; he views his laws as those very things which are calculated, in the greatest possible degree, to interfere with his enjoyments; and he hates God, and he hates his law. See such a man, who is wedded to the world, and whose heart whereby he might aggrandize himself; his ruling passion might be gratified. And as to the worship of God; O, question bin when he comes out, as to the subject of his, after having professed to worship the living in spirit and truth; and what would be his if he gave a candid and honest one? That God was not in all his thoughts? O, my beloved friends, these things would prove to a demonstration, would they not, that we are fallen; that sin hath poisoned our hearts; that in our hearts is the plague of sin, that we need not, in order that we should justly be condemned, be doing some particular thing that might expose us to the gaze of our fellow-creatures; for the heart is estranged from God? And what is required of us, but that our grievous and fatal disease should be cured by the only remedy; for there is only one; that our sentence should be revoked , and nullified; that the hand-writing against us should be nailed to the cross; that our covenant with sin and Satan should be disannulled; and that we should be set free? Those who have felt the mercy and goodness of God, being made conscious of the plague of their own hearts, can never look back upon any portion of their lives, in which they could say that they were upon this level, and that they had nothing to do but to go straight forward. The tendency has been to go deeper and deeper into alienation from God; to dislike his laws more and more; to feel their to be more and more galling. "Thou shalt not covet." O how mortifying is this to the sensual and natural man. Not covet? It is the business of his life to covet. If he could gratify himself at the expense of millions of others, and quietly do it, so as that no one should know that he had interfered with them, he would gratify himself. Do we not see this; and see it too when persons are put to the test, who have passed in the eyes of the world for good sort of persons? We see that when they have been placed in a state of temptation, restraints have been removed from them, and they have exhibited those dispositions. Bat if the disposition were not there, how would they exhibit it? The situation in which they have been placed has not created the disposition, any more than putting gold either high or low would make it brass. Put it in earth or water; let it be in heat or in cold; in any quarter of the globe; still there are its qualities; it is gold still And thus the natural disposition of man remains the same. And what, my beloved friends, can effect a change in us? Can it be any thing short of the holy Spirit of God? No, there is no power; no power short of this can do it. And how can we be saved by that Almighty Saviour? What are we to do, my beloved friends? O, I speak in the tenderness of any heart, and in the love of the gospel; my very heart desires our salvation. Is it not then, I say, our bounden duty; is it not our privilege, to unto him who heareth prayer, that he will pleased to soften our hearts, to contrite us him; that the power of his holy Spirit operating upon our hearts, may raise us from the dead, we may be quickened by the life of his Spirit? You hath he quickened who were dead in trespasses and sins. My beloved friends, how are we engaged? Do we, any of us, pass over day after day, without humbly seeking unto God in prayer for the gift of his holy Spirit? If we have thus been negligent, and disregarded this blessed duty of prayer, let me tenderly and affectionately intreat of you, that no more days may pass over us without our being found reverently on our knees seeking unto God in prayer. But will it be said, we must wait for the influence of the holy Spirit, for we cannot command him. My beloved friends, pray for the influence of this Spirit, that it may soften our hearts. We cannot indeed command those blessed influences; but God gave his beloved Son-who is God, and who took upon him our nature, that he might suffer and die for us; received the penalty of the broken law, that it might not fall upon us, after he had fulfilled the whole law; was subject to the awful penalty, that we, by his death, might have everlasting life. And how graciously, when he came to perform the will of God, did he invite those whom he came to save; saying, "ask, and ye shall receive; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you." "If a son ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask for a fish, will he give him a serpent? or if he ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then being evil, know how to give good things to your children, how much .more shall your heavenly Father give 'his holy Spirit unto them that ask him?" And how powerfully did he argue for the necessity of our being persevering in prayer; that we are not to be disappointed, or to turn away, because we do not immediately receive the benefits we ask for. There were very numerous instances in which this was pointed out. Yes, he gave forth a parable for this end, that :men ought always to pray and not to faint. And therefore, my beloved friends, abundant is the encouragement held out to us, and sure and certain are the promises which are made to us. If then we have neglected that which is of so much importance, let none of us be found still in the neglect of it. But do we not bring with us into the world the holy Spirit of God? Do we not bring it with us in our hearts? Is it not there as a seed, which, under certain circumstances, will break out into vitality and grow? And therefore, why need we ask it? Have any of us been deluded in this way, my beloved friends? Look to the Scriptures, do they teach this? And can any think that they have nothing to do, but to be passive, and that then their natural inclinations and desires will be overcome, which are contrary to the divine will, whilst they do not come unto him who giveth life; have no faith in him who came to save us; and where the moral effect intended to be produced by so gracious a provision is not produced? But, O the gratitude, the real gratitude of heart, which is induced by the consciousness of our lost estate; and that God hath, notwithstanding, so loved us, that he gave his only begotten Son to save us; the gratitude of heart which has been induced, when we have felt ourselves to be poor, lost, needy creatures; that between us and our God there is a great gulf fixed. And how can we pass it; when we feel that we have broken his holy law; when conscience is smiting us, tormenting us; causing us to perceive that it is indeed an evil thing and bitter, that we have done many things, the evil of which we never can repair; that those perhaps, most dear to us, are even taken out of the world, to whom we have not performed our duty; that there have been very many sins of omission, and commission, as it relates to them? And how shall we ever answer this before God, the infinitely holy and pure Lord God; and with regard to our neighbour, whether connected with us or not, for all men are our neighbours in the scriptural sense, how have we performed our duty towards them? Do we not here again feel a consciousness of overwhelming guilt; and that when men shall stand before the judgment-seat of Christ, we can have nothing to say for ourselves, but our sins must appear in black characters against us; that we have nothing to offer in our own justification? But instead of this hand-writing continuingagainst us, as though it were graven with a pen of adamant, into the everlasting rock; we see that he, who in infinite mercy and love, and from pure condescension, and abundant compassion, gave himself for us; offered himself up a sacrifice for us, by the shedding of his precious blood for us, that our sins might be obliterated; that we should be washed from all our sins. And then, indeed, is there gratitude in our hearts, that in and through him, we should have the purchased possession, even the holy Spirit of God, that should dwell in ,us, and be our comforter, and stay, and never failing source of rejoicing. Then there :is peace and joy in the heart, to which before we were utter strangers, when we were disposed to justify ourselves; in that our justification is by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and by nothing that we can do for ourselves. And do we bring this into the world with us? No, my brethren. How necessary then is it for us to pray for the influence of the holy Spirit. And do we think that we may go quietly on from day to day, with the idea, that we are doing nothing particularly offensive, and that therefore we shall not be condemned? But he that believeth not the Son is condemned already; condemnation stands against him; it is not obliterated; not done away; not nailed to the cross; his bond is not canceled. He that believeth not the Son, is condemned already: because he hath not believed on the name of the only begotten Son Of God, his evil disease is not cured.

How strange would it seem for any to argue, that under the circumstances in which they have been placed, they ought certainly to be excused; that although there was a remedy they were not cured of the plague. What would be the answer that would be given them? Why then the plague must run its course. And thus, when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin; and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. We bring nothing into the world with us, my beloved friends, that is the antidote to death; it is the purchased possession, the gift of God, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Will it be said, then, how will it fare with those who never hear of the Lord Jesus Christ? My beloved friends, to their own Master do they stand or fall. God is able, by his holy Spirit, to regenerate the heart. "For the wind bloweth where it listeth, and, thou hearest the sound thereof, and canst not tell whence it cometh and whither it goeth; so is every one that is born of the Spirit." We are not to judge of mankind; we have to do with that which relates to ourselves. We know that we are responsible; that God hath made known unto us, by the means which he hath provided, that he "gave his only begotten Son, that we through him might have eternal life; that we might be redeemed from our iniquities,.and reconciled unto God through him;" and if we lay not hold on this, how inconceivably great is our condemnation? It is true, God is not limited, he is a Sovereign; but if he has bestowed upon us knowledge, we must be accountable for that which he has bestowed; not that he would call us to account for the sake of condemnation, for he willeth that all of us should be saved, and come to the knowledge of his beloved Son, and receive the influence of his blessed Spirit in our hearts, by a living faith. Yes, and that this faith should be the effect of the blessed influence of his holy Spirit; for faith is the gift of God. It is impossible, therefore, for us, if we do really believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, to be indifferent to the things which relate to our everlasting peace. We never can have faith, a living faith, unless it be accompanied by repentance towards God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ. They are inseparable; we never can, never can reject the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ and. at the same time be truly penitent; the thing is absolutely impossible. There may, indeed, be that sorrow of the world, which worketh death in our hearts. We may be heartily sorry, and sincerely mortified and vexed for, and at the effects of our sins; but if we reject the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, we never can in our hearts, be sorry for sin as an offence against God. And why? Why, because our hearts are not influenced by the Spirit of God. For it is only by the Spirit of God operating upon the heart, that we can be truly sorry for sin, as an offence against God. It is only the Spirit of God, by changing the heart, that can induce us to be sincerely sorry for violating the rules and commands of the infinitely holy law of God. No power short of divine power, can give us this sincere sorrow. For how can they, who are dead in trespasses and sins be sincerely, and to their hearts, sorry for sin ? And it is only by this Spirit of God that life is produced in the soul, regeneration, the communication of life to the soul, is by the holy Spirit; and" except a man be born again of the Spirit, he cannot see the kingdom of God."

Friends, whilst I speak of these things, I feet an overwhelming sense of their importance, and of the extreme inadequacy of my powers, to speak of them as I could earnestly wish that they were held forth. But this is my earnest desire, my beloved friends, that our hearts may be quickened by this living power, in which it may be our delight to breathe unto him who heareth prayer, to show unto us, that if we be not in this situation, our situation is an extremely dangerous one, and a tremendous one; and that we may be induced to feel, if not by love, yet by fear. For this, I believe is the way in which divine goodness is pleased to operate often upon the heart, to move us by fear; that we, being made sensible of our danger; being mused from our state of lethargy; and being made conscious that there is something fearfully amiss; that we may cry unto him who heareth prayer, and is ever more ready to do us good, than we can be to ask it. But there must be a moral change, my beloved friends; for unless the heart be really moved; unless the affections be really changed, and transferred from self, and debasing selfishness, and placed upon God, there is no safety for us. And therefore we find in this, that by which we may attain to a scriptural standard; not by comparing ourselves among ourselves, and with ourselves, as we are often induced, my beloved friends, to do; to compare sin with sin, and to think that there is a balance in our favour, instead of contrasting sin with the infinite holiness and purity of God. If we are enabled to contrast ourselves with the infinite purity of God, then shall we see our danger, and fly from the wrath to come, and be looking to him who beholdeth us in mercy, and will draw us to his beloved Son, and enable usl through him, to lay hold on eternal life.

Let me then exhort you to labour against that deadly notion, that we have all in us by nature, that we need only to desire, and just at our leisure to turn; or if we have not acted just as we could wish, we must correct it. No, he who has in infinite wisdom and goodness ordained the end, hath appointed also the means; and he hath said, "Ask, and ye shall receive; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you." And how plainly hath he told us, through the revelation which he hath been pleased to afford us, "Strive to enter in at the strait gate; for many, I say unto you, shall seek to enter, and shall not be able." It is, therefore, no light or small matter. It is not enough, that we just reach out one hand, and see if we can touch it, and then be satisfied that we shall be excused, if we do not lay hold of it; but the real energies of the mind must be directed to this great object. My beloved friends, we may have our outward engagements and worldly business, and may excuse ourselves, and think that we have not leisure to pursue that path, which is commonly called a religious life. But what are these outward duties and engagements? And how are they to be performed? Do we suppose, that the best method for performing them is, for the mind to be alienated from God? Hath God ordained them for this purpose? What, but the depravity of our hearts could induce us to suppose that God hath ordained this; and that if we are doing that which is contrary to the will of God, we may expect his favour? What favour from him whose laws are our aversion; from which we turn as though we turned from death, when they would lead us to life? My beloved friends, I cannot but be earnest; my very heart is deeply interested, and frequently engaged, and is there not a cause? Are any of us bowed down to the earth, spending our time in the things of the earth; satisfied when they go on well, and pained, and sorrowful, and mourning, when they are contrary to our wishes; seeking our heaven, in fact, on earth, and not in him who is infinite in purity and holiness; and "who hath so loved us, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him might not perish, but have everlasting life?" O is this the case with any of us? Then I say, strive to enter into the strait gate; for many strive to enter and are not able. No, because, whilst they reach forth their finger, and are willing to take all the blessings they may obtain, whether from heaven or earth, their great inclination, their hearts, are fixed on earth, and they are laying hold on the things which the pit contains, into which they are fallen; and calling these things by the language of their conduct, their gods, they would willingly indeed catch from heaven, any thing that might happen to fall from thence, if that would not interfere with their mean enjoyments. But as to enjoyment and delight in God's holy will, they are strangers to it, and will remain so, unless their hearts are affected by that almighty power which alone can effect that gracious change. Be warned, my friends, be admonished; you know not how short the time may be with any of us. And O that we should be in such a state of self abasement as to be putting off the evil day, that day in which we may have the consoling hope, that through him who gave himself for us, we should be enabled to rejoice in his presence eternally. Are we fairly and deliberately weighing the things of earth, against the things of heaven, and finding that the things of earth preponderate with us? How plain is it then, on every ground, and in every view, that we are fallen, that we need that redemption so graciously provided for us; that it is an undeniable truth, that the wages of sin is death, but the "gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord." O that this gift may be bestowed upon every one of us, my beloved friends; that we may see the absolute necessity there is for using all the energies of the mind; that we should love the Lord our God with all our mind, with all our soul, and all our strength; that we should perform our outward duties also upon this principle; that we should seek first the things of God; and then seek, in reverent abasement to him, that he would bestow upon us those things which be needful for us, as it respects the present life. And why do we not do this? Because we do not believe in God, and that his beloved Son will do that which he has promised he will do. We see, therefore, how the whole subject hinges upon faith. If we believe, then we obey. If we do not, there is no disposition to obey. Let us not, then, deceive ourselves, and think we may slip along quietly, without making any particular profession of religion; that it does not so much signify the acknowledging of a belief in our Lord Jesus Christ; that it is something which, on the whole, may be considered to be a speculation which some believe, and some do not; but the great thing is so to walk as that we find favour with God. My beloved friends, he who came to save us, is the way, the truth, and the life; and no man cometh unto the Father but by him; and therefore there is no pleasing God without faith in his beloved Son; if we reject his beloved Son, we reject him.

A few words to my beloved friends in younger life, for whom I feel with unspeakable tenderness. Many are your temptations, my beloved friends, I can well believe; many your trials; and if you have not been instructed daily and reverently to look to God, and to beg of him, with reverent supplication for his blessing, in a particular manner do I affectionately recommend you never to suffer the day to open, without, endeavouring to accept of the return of life as a fresh gift from the hand of our Father in heaven. Beg of him for his blessing upon the time which he is pleased graciously to afford; cry unto him with earnest supplication for the help of his holy Spirit, that you may be drawn effectually to his beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ; that you may believe on him with a living faith; that faith which worketh by love to the purifying of the heart; that you may obey his commandments from the heart; that they may not be grievous to you; or that however grievous they may appear, that you may be blessed with that saving help, which shall enable you strenuously to resist every thing contrary to the holy commands of God; that you may grow up in humble obedience; and that that obedience, acting upon faith, may enable you to see more and more, the infinite goodness of God, and the love of Christ Jesus our Lord; that you may feel more and more your obligation to him; that he may be the companion of your life; and your eye may be continually turning to him, for his merciful direction; and saying, O that thou wouldst help me to perform thy will. O that I may obey it from the heart; that my soul may be conformed to it; that I may perform all my outward duties as in thy sight; that I ever may dwell with thee, and feel thy love more and more abiding in my heart. Thus there will be strength afforded to you, that strength which nothing in this world can overcome, because it is the strength of the Spirit of God, bestowed for his sake, who gave himself for this very purpose, that you might be nourished and grow up to eternal life; and as you grow in years thus being united more and more to him, he will acknowledge you in that great day when he will clothe you with the robe of his righteousness, in which you will rejoice more and more for ever, while you unite in gratitude to him, who hath loved you, and washed you from your sins in his blood.