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 Homiletics Online Anthology, Section 2: The 18th Century.

I do hope that none of us may suffer ourselves to be so deceived, as to suppose than any of those who may have received the word of reconciliation to preach to the people, can make it a light easy matter to open their mouths professedly as ambassadors for Christ; for however multiplied the Lord's favours have been unto his people, even through his faithful servants, who have laboured above all things to stand in favour and acceptance with him, and in all devotion of heart, to what they have believed his divine requiring; yet, persuaded I am, that every true and living minister of the gospel, is sensible, that it is a solemn weighty thing to be true servants; they are often encompassed about with many doubts and fears, feeling their own infirmities; and their portion is often to go down into baptisms in these meetings, and to stand as with their feet in the bottom of Jordan for the people's sake; and it is in fear and trembling that I address you now, friends; but, my mind has been solidly thoughtful respecting a state like that which one of the sacred writers spoke of, that "professing themselves wise, they became fools." (Romans 1:22.) There is abundance of head knowledge, and the world's wisdom, which some have laboured hard to attain; and yet have been void of true wisdom; for as one of the servants of Jesus has written, so I believe there are two kinds of wisdom. The wisdom that is from above, and the wisdom that is from beneath: widely different in their effects upon the hearts of the people; the wisdom that is from beneath "is earthly, sensual and devilish." But the wisdom that is from above, is pure, is gentle, easy to be entreated, full of mercy and full of good works. (James 3:15-18.) There can hardly be any present that have grown to an age capable of reflecting on religious things, but must have found at seasons, that they had two spirits striving in them for the mastery. I know for myself, that I have often felt in my own experience, that when I would do good evil has been present with me, (Romans 7:22) and that I was not able to perform those things which mine eyes had seen to be most consistent with my peace; and there is no way, friends, to gain wisdom, or strength, to be able to comprehend and to observe those things that the Lord is requiring at our hands, I say, that there is no way but that which was pointed to formerly, "If any man lack wisdom let him ask it of God," (James 1:5) who is the inexhaustible fountain of all true wisdom and knowledge; but, while men are not trusting in him, but leaning to their own understandings, though they may profess themselves to be wise, they are certainly to be ranked among fool, not having the true wisdom.(Romans 1:22; 1 Corinthians 1:20.)

Lean not to thine own understanding, (Proverbs 3:5) nor to thine own acquirements, but if thou wouldst be instructed in heavenly knowledge, learn to be divested of thy own reasonings, and suffer the Lord to work in thee and for thee; for persuaded I am, friends, that many who are now supposing themselves wise, would be favoured to see, as they waited upon the Lord, that all the world's wisdom is foolishness, and would feel it and see it so, from the effects of it, which are indeed earthly, and sensual, not raising the mind and affections up unto God; but drawing men down in their affections unto things which are earthly and temporal, and can by no means produce that peace of mind, that precious holy quiet, that the true wisdom which cometh from God doth. For all these things, however, we may arrive at a great degree of the world's knowledge, and a great deal of its outward possessions, and be highly esteemed among the people; be not only wise in our own eyes, but wise in the eyes of others; all these things are not able to satisfy the craving of an immortal soul; not on solid serious reflection, to afford it one moment's true peace. Oh! then, may we be entreated to seek for, and pray for that wisdom that cometh down from heaven, and is the gift of God in boundless mercy to poor bewildered man, who indeed without it is only to be compared to his wearisome pilgrimage, in his travel through a land of pits and snares, which are daily and hourly laid for his feet: I say, such as have not received a measure of this wisdom, or are not careful to live in it, they may only be compared to a vessel at sea in a tempest, having neither pilot nor compass, and every hour in danger of being wrecked; for there is nothing, friends, that can lead or direct us in the paths of peace, where the soul may be at rest in itself, but that wisdom which cometh down from God, and which he giveth liberally unto such as seek him: and the effects of his wisdom is experienced by such as have received it, yea, and it is made evident to those who behold them, that whatever might have been their former condition, they are measurably become, according as they have been obedient to the openings of the heavenly vision on their minds, they have become more pure, more gentle, more easy to be entreated, fuller of mercy and fuller of good works.

I feel the need I have daily to watch over my own steps; and that we have a continued unwearied enemy, seeking to deceive and betray; to lead those who have been in eminent mercy turned into the paths of true wisdom, back again into evil: take heed to yourselves, friends, prize the measure you have received, and live in obedience to the smallest intimations of his will; and persuaded I am, the Lord will favour you with an increase of wisdom, and with an increase of knowledge, in things which are everlastingly enriching and glorious: we shall be made partakers of those excellent things held forth in the scriptures, as we are devoted to live in the true wisdom. According to our devotion and sincerity of heart, we shall know the Lord, the Son of Righteousness, to arise higher and higher; but the unfaithful, and those who will not adhere to the openings and breaking forth of the morning light, and in the small ability they have received, travel forward in the light of Christ, these are not likely to be approved, they are not likely to know the day to rise higher and higher: it is a progressive work, friends, and there is no one present, I believe, that dare to say, I have proved the extent and depth of redeeming love; I know how far it can go; by no means, we are not in this situation, but let us labour that we may attain to be greater proficients in the school of Christ, that so the government may rest upon his shoulders, whose right is to rule and to reign in the hearts of men. Oh! then, friends, we should indeed experience him to be the Prince of Peace, and we should walk safely under his holy banner, witnessing from time to time an increase of faith, hope, and love, towards him; and our affections to be more and more raised up and set on things above, where he sitteth; for this is the effect, friends, of a faithful traveling forward in the light of Christ, as it gradually opens in our minds; we shall neither be standing still nor going backward, but moving gently forward in the care of our soul's salvation; for he has been found to those who have enlisted under his banner, to be the chiefest among ten thousand; a wonderful Counselor, a mighty God, and a Prince of Peace.(Isaiah 9:6.) And I believe with the holy prophet, who was inspired by the Lord, to declare the gospel day, yea, more largely than any we have an account of; I believe with him, that of the increase of his government and of his peace, there never shall be an end. (Isaiah 9:7.) O that we, friends, may submit to the gospel power, not shrinking back at the various discouragements that from time to time appear in our view, but having faith in him, and confidence in his everlasting power; trust in the Lord with thy whole heart, and then there will be no danger; but that whatever besets thee in thy passage through time, thou wilt be conducted in safety, and in the conclusion thou wilt be favoured to lay down thy head in peace with Christ.