A Sermon Delivered by WILLIAM SAVERY, 2nd Month 1786 at Bank-meeting House, Philadelphia.
Two Sermons Delivered at the Bank-meetinghouse in Philadelphia. Taken in Short Hand by Joseph Sansom. Burlington, NJ: David Allinson, 1805.

This is The Quaker Homiletic Online Anthology, Section Two: The 18th Century

Though thousands may fall on the right hand, and tens of thousands on the left, I am glad in feeling renewed confirmation that the Lord is the same, and that Truth is the same as it was in the beginning, so it is now, and through all the vicissitudes of time and of the periods of eternity it must remain so. Man may change, and does change, and various inventions and abundance of graven images, the workmanship of men's hands are from age to age presenting themselves; but neither all the inventions of men, nor all the scoffings of the despisers, can lessen the dignity, excellency and glory of the Truth; yet, however, great and marvelous have been the exertions of omnipotent power and everlasting goodness, that all might come to know what Truth is, and believe in it; yet so it is, that many that have professed the Christian name, and are professing it, remain yet in darkness, in blindness; and may with great propriety enquire as Pilate did, "What is Truth?" (John 18:38.)

This is not, friends, because of any deficiency on the side of everlasting mercy and goodness; but because we have shut our eyes that we might not see; stopped our ears, that we might not hear; and hardened our hearts, that we might not understand: being carried away with airy imaginations, with vain speculations, and subtle reasoning, the work of our soul's enemy; and have not sought Truth where, only and alone, it is to be found. For all thy researches will end in disappointment, vexation and trouble, unless thou timely enquire in the temple of thine own heart, in reverent awful stillness and quiet, before the Lord: Be even concerned to "enter into thy closet, and shut to the door," (Matthew 6:6) ask for strength of the Lord to keep to keep thine heart from wandering, and there thou shalt indeed feel to thy comfort, that the Lord is nearer unto thee than thou believed or thought for.

"What is Truth?" "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life," (John 14:6) said our dear Lord! Have you known him so friends? It is often a serious enquiry with me; have I known him so? Hast thou felt in thine own heart in secret, the Lord Jesus by his spirit, showing unto thee the way; calling thee into all truth; for none are left without witness, all having received, in infinite mercy, an unction form the Holy One; and this anointing which ye have received, this is Truth, and it is no lie. It is the spirit of the Lord Jesus, who after suffering many things for the sake of poor sin lost man, ascended on high, led captivity, captive, and gave gifts unto men. O friends, prize these gifts; prize the infinite mercy, and goodness of God, in that he has thus favoured you; dedicate them to his honour, offer up your all in obedience to the openings of the divine light in your minds. Let no subtle reasonings persuade thee, till it be indeed too late, to wander from the Truth as the Lord has placed it in thy heart for thy direction. The Lord Jesus has ascended up on high, and after the flesh we see him no more: but not so with respect to the feeling of his grace and good Spirit, which he promised to send, or to pray to the father that he would send into the hearts of all men; that should lead them and guide them into all truth.

Let us not, friends, be of those whom he foresaw would not receive him, "but the world cannot receive me," (John 14:17) was his own declaration, the world cannot receive it. Notwithstanding the exertions of his power, and the many wonderful works which he has done, even in our day, there are many that will not behold. "Yet hath he visited, and brought sons from afar, and daughters from the end of the earth;" causing the eye of the blind to behold, the deaf ear to be unstopped, and the tongue that was dumb before him to show forth his praise. These are marvelous works of the invisible power, of the Lord our God; and truly, I have admired, in my silent waiting upon him, at the continued goodness, mercy, and love of him, that hath so wrought for many thousands; that day after day he is filling the hungry with meat, and constraining them, not for any thing that they have from the people, or that is theirs; for we covet no man's silver or gold, (Acts 20:33) or anything that is his; we desire not the applause of men, nor to please man, for if we please men, then, as the Apostle declares, we shall not be servants of Christ. O that every mercy of the Lord may be effectual to the promotion of the great and glorious work he designs for some of you; some of you dear young people, he designs should know the Truth, should see the safety, peace and quiet there is in it, and should walk to his praise within the holy limits thereof. All within the sacred bounds of unchangeable Truth, is peace and quiet.

Those that have in measure found the Truth, and lived in it, they are made witnesses for this thing, that they have indeed, when commotions and tempests from without, have threatened to assail and overwhelm their habitation, a storms would indeed bear down all, if the Lord's hand were not underneath: these, I say, they know Jerusalem to be a quiet habitation, that not all the tempests from without can invade; a quiet habitation they may retire to and find safety. O friends, seek for it. I labour honestly to discharge myself amongst this people, the Lord knoweth, whom above all things I desire to serve and to live in favor with.

My heart is comforted often times in our meetings, in believing, that the Lord's hand hath not been stretched out in vain, but some are, one here and another there, through the continuance of his goodness, drawing day by day, into a nearer and more perfect acquaintance with him.

O my dear friends, may we unite in a holy travail, with and for one another, that none of those whom the Lord hath peculiarly chosen from among the people; brought them forth with a high hand, and an outstretched arm, may by any means fall by the way, or turn their backs in the day of battle. We know, friends, that it is warfare; there can be no victory without a warfare; and it is known to be a continual warfare. There is no time for thee, or me, to lie down at ease, or put off the armour: there is no time friends for this: but the business is, as much as in us lies, to labour that we keep on the holy armour of light, that we may be able to see, and to withstand all the subtle persuasions of an unwearied adversary.

Possess yourselves in patience, dear friends, and wait daily young men and young women; wait daily in the temple; when your hands are on upon your necessary employments, or, wherever you may be: wait, to know your strength renewed in him, whom at seasons you have embraced: "the chiefest among ten thousand," (Song of Songs 5:10) and have been willing, and able to say through the aboundings of his goodness, "my beloved is mine, and I am his." (Song of Songs 6:3.)

Oh! keep your places, dear friends, in the innocence, and littleness, and blessed simplicity of the ever glorious Truth, as you have known it, and seen it to be in the Lord Jesus. Do not let the swerving aside of many from the right way of the Lord, be any discouragement to you. The Lord will show himself strong on the side of righteousness; and, however many may wander in the bye-ways and crooked paths and refuse to follow the Lord in the way of his leadings, he will be with his devoted children, and not a hair of their heads shall fall to the ground without his permission. "See the lilies how they toil not, neither do they spin:" now friends, here is encouragement; for it is not through any acquirement of ours, or, through any works of righteousness which we have done, or can do; but all is of the Lord, who has worked, and will work, both in us and for us, to his own praise. "See the lilies, how they toil not, neither do they spin; yet verily, I say unto you, Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed as one of these: doth God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is and tomorrow is cast in the oven? How much more shall he clothe you, O ye of little faith." (Matthew 6:28.)

Be encouraged, therefore, friends, from the many gracious promises, which are and will be "Yea and amen forever;" (2 Corinthians 1:20) "Heaven and earth may pass away, but my words cannot pass away." (Matthew 24:35.)

The Lord's arm hath been, and ever will be secretly and invisibly underneath, to bear up the heads of his children, in every generation; and when they pass through the fire, or through the waters, they know his everlasting goodness to sustain. Oh! hold fast your confidence friends, "Be ye faithful unto death, and I will give you a crown of life." (Revelation 2:10) Look forward to that happy time; a few days will terminate the warfare of the youngest of us now present, a few days compared to that eternal after scene to which we are hastening. Cast your care upon the Lord, trust in him alone, upon the beloved of your souls; he is able, yea, and will do for us as he has done for many thousands: "He will lead his own forth, and go before them, and give unto them eternal life, and none shall be able to pluck them out of his hand." (John 10:28.)