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This Company furnishes ALL DESTRABLE FORMS of LIFE and ENDOWMENT INSURANCE at actual NET COST. It is PURELY MUTUAL; has ASSETS of nearly TEN MILLIONS and a SURPLUS
of about TWO MILLIONS. SAMUEL C. HUEY, President.
Bolts policies are NON-FORFEITABLE and INCONTESTABLE.og
HENRY C. BROWN, Secretary.
The Friends' journal.
INTELLIGENCER. Vol. xlii.—No. 14.
PHILADELPHIA, FIFTH MONTH 16, 1885.
JOURNAL. Vol. xiii.-No. 642.
The Apostle Paul declared to the Corinthians, “I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell; God knoweth); such an one was caught up to the third heaven. And he heard unspeakable words which it is not lawful for a man to utter.” This brings into view three degrees of experience, the attainment of which is possible for the children of men. When we come to consider this in a proper light, the mystery with regard to it passes away, and the opening of our experiences, as they succeed each other step by step, serves as a key to bring to our understanding what is meant by these three heavens. The first heaven is that condition in which we all come into this world; it is a heaven which we inherit immediately from our Heavenly Father; instead of being, as it were, corrupted by the transgression of Adam, or from any other source, we find ourselves pure and innocent. I know there are those who teach an opposite view, but we find by experience that there is no corruption, nothing in the condition of man as he comes into this world, that serves as a partition to separate his soul from God. I am aware that this contravenes the doctrine which has long been taught, to
* Delivered at Race Street Meeting-house, First-day morning, Fifth month 10th, 1885.
the great harm of mankind, that because A dam transgressed all succeeding generations were brought down to disadvantage and death. We find that our experience corresponds with the testimony of our Heavenly Father, through His Son Jesus Christ, whom He hath anointed to declare His truth to men, who himself declared, “To this end was I born, and for this purpose came I into the world, that I might bear witness to the truth ; ” and in bearing this witness he said, “Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”
When these come from the hands of our Heavenly Father they are in the first heaven. This being the case, we can clearly perceive that heaven is not a state of separation from our Heavenly Father, but it is brought forth by the life and power of God. Their condition, then, being a heavenly state, we say this is the first heaven. I may here remark that our Heavenly Father has never made any other condition for the souls of men but heaven.
From this first condition we pass along until the development of the law of God becomes clear to our spiritual life, and at this period our responsibility commences, and if we choose the right we retain our heavenly state throughout our probation in this life. On the other hand, if we leave the right, and choose the wrong, we lose this heavenly state, and we do this always by our own election and choice. Our Heavenly Father does not take it away from us, and if we choose the right we shall remain in the kingdom of heaven. We shall see clearly what we are called upon to do. Here, then, becomes the work on our part, which if we faithfully carry out we retain our birthright from our Heavenly Father, who never created anything wrong—never brought forth anything sinful, and man never had anything wicked or sinful in him until he transgressed the law of divine life in his own soul.
Here, then, we see that when we come to that which we call the great work of moral righteousness, we can, if we do our own work faithfully, become instrumental for good, working together with our Father in all things, making a proper use of the blessings which He bestows upon us, and thus we become successful in creating or forming the second heaven.
Now, this was what Jesus came to teach man that he should do to inherit eternal life. You can perceive by reading his precepts—by reading what we call the Sermon on the Mount—that he presents moral lessons; he calls man to that which he may appreciate and understand, for our Heavenly Father has ever given sufficient light to do all the work that is required of us. He is never behindhand in doing His part of the work. There is no work that we are called to do but that can be done. Our work is to procure that which we stand in need of for all our daily subsistence. This is literally so, as far, even, as that which sustains the body from day to day. Our Heavenly Father understands that we need these things, and He assists us in procuring them. He gives us the earth, and the light and heat of the sun, and the rains, and the dews. These are His part of the work; but He will not sow the fields, He will not plow them, nor cultivate them, nor gather in the harvest. These are our parts of the work, and if we make proper use of the means which He has placed in our reach we shall be able to procure our daily sustenance. The same is true of the food for our soul natures —our salvation and redemption. We must work; for nothing is obtained where there is no sacrifice or labor; and God inspires us to do that which is right for us to do. We must be instrumental in doing all that we can for the good of ourselves and our fellow-men. It was this that Jesus was anointed to do when he declared the truths to the people in his day. All his teachings and precepts had this direction— to call them to moral righteousness. He taught them that they must be faithful in doing all the work that was properly set before them. The sum and substance was expressed in a very few words: “All things whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, do ye also likewise unto them.” This is the substance of the law and the prophets. All that was valuable in the law, all the substance of the teachings of the prophets, was to point and direct to this. He declared the truth of God, but we see that the professors of the Christian religion, notwithstanding all their high professions, notwithstanding the preaching of looking to Jesus as the saviour and redeemer, has not done for the children of men what it ought to have done. We all know that Christianity has joined with the powers of the world in waging war, in making preparations for destroying each other. We see that the professors of religion have entered into an agreement with the political part of the nations, and they are also arrayed against each other, and each side in time of war has engaged men to teach religion and to pray for the success of their arms. We see how little the teachings of the Spirit of God, through His Son Jesus Christ, has done even for those who are professing to be his followers. True religion would change the entire condition of things if we would accept the principle of doing unto others as we would have them do to us; it would do away with all war, man would no longer slay his brother man; it would make peace in neighborhoods, there would be no contention nor strife in the world, no more speaking against each other, or doing anything which they would not have others do to them. There is no mystery about the religion of Jesus; it can be comprehended and understood by all. He denied the rightfulness of war, and declared that his servants could not fight, and it remains to be true,
whatever men may declare to the contrary, that his servants cannot fight, and they who do fight are not his disciples. This is the sum and substance of the religion which Jesus Christ taught, though it was not new. In order that it may come into the heart of man it must have a right root to bring forth the plant; and that is simply the revelation of God, the light of truth, or the law of God, speaking after the manner of men, written upon the tablet of the heart, having no reference, however, to the fleshly heart of man, but as this throws the life-blood or living principle to all parts of the outward system, so this divine principle sends its power all over the soul. We have given to us by this power sufficient knowledge to enable us to perform all our duties, and we may pass on step by step into higher conditions, until we attain to that which the apostle speaks of as the third heaven, the perfection of that righteousness which is brought about by the operation of the Divine light in the souls of the children of men. Our Heavenly Father has never laced Himself in the attitude of anger towards any of His children, even the very worst of them. His action is not based upon the principles of the law of Moses. That law was the lea: talionis. It is a great mistake to suppose that our Heavenly Father makes use of any such means for carrying forward his work. It was their own hearts that led men to judge their Heavenly Father, and they gave Him a character in accordance with their own feelings, they said he was a jealous God, an angry God; they said he was disappointed in regard to the Creation, so much so that he destroyed most of the people, and that he had to form a plan in order to be relieved of the great mistake which He had made, and they declare that He repented Himself because He had made man. But if we look into our own hearts we shall see that it is only when we have done wrong and have become transgressors of the Divine law that we are reproved for that wrong, but never in anger. When we do right we feel justified, we feel comfortable and happy within ourselves, and this is simply the approval of our Heavenly Father. He speaks to us with a voice that we can understand, not by vocal sounds but by impressions upon our spirits. We all know this to be true. It comes from that being which is Love, and being unchangeable it has ever remained love, and every manifestation that has been made to man has been in love and not in anger. It is to this principle of Divine love in the soul I feel to call our attention. We all have desires for the right, we are all looking for that which will give us right direction, for that which will lay a foundation upon which we can safely build. We have evidence of this before us now in this large assembly; perhaps not one would have been here, had there not been something of this working of the Divine power in the soul. We are all looking for the revelations of our Heavenly Father; for that which will lead and sustain us in the right course. No external thing can give any aid, any profit, except to direct us to this inward power in the soul of man. This is true of the Scriptures; in themselves they can only bear testimony to it. Jesus made this point clear in regard to them when he said, “Ye search the Scriptures for in them ye think ye have eternal life, and they are they which testify of me, and ye will not come to me that ye might have life.” Now, in making use of the term, me, he did not mean himself as a man visible before them, but he personified the spirit of the Father, that very spirit which is in all men, giving them eternal life, for he knew he should be with them but a short time, he knew that he would be taken away from that body, but he knew that this would be with them always even unto the end of the world. Paul declared that we had known Christ after the flesh, but henceforth we shall know him no more after the flesh. Outward things can go no further than to point to the substance in our own hearts. It is to this Christ which ever was co-existent with the Father, as he declared, “before Adam was I am.” It was simply the revelation of God's power in the hearts of the children of men that Jesus referred to, for he said, “Lo ! I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” It was not the outward man that walked up and down in Judea, but the spirit and power of God that is always with man; this is the Christ of God. Paul said, “we preach Christ and him crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling-block, and unto the Greeks foolishness, but unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, the power of God and the wisdom of God.” Here, then, when we get a full understanding of this declaration, and have it clear in our minds, we can see that the Christ of God is the sum of the two attributes of His wisdom and power; these are His attributes and He works in the hearts of the children of men with them, and it is nothing short of our Heavenly Father that is Christ in us the hope of glory. We deny that this Christ could be crucified on an outward cross. There was a death of Christ that is profitable to us as an example in that he died unto sin inwardly, that he might live unto life eternal, but this was not the death of the outward body, but the death to everything that rises up in contro. versy with God, that will bring all our passions and propensities into their proper places to fill their allotment. This is the cross of Christ and is not designed to be harsh or cruel, but it is to lay a proper restraint upon everything that would harm us, it is that which is necessary to guard us, and keep all our passions from sin. These passions are all pure in themselves, it is the abuse of them that brings forth sin, and under the restraining power of the love of God we are made to feel our responsibility. Our will and our reason are all right; all these things are from God, and they were designed by our Heavenly Father for the good of his children, to provide for their needs, each having a specific purpose to fulfill. But if we cease to watch over these, if we neglect the care of these, a door is opened through which sin enters into the world. Not through temptation, for if we stand on the right ground sin cannot throw us down. There is no outward being that can injure us if we keep on the true foundation. There is not one of us who has ever heard such a being speaking to us and drawing our hearts away from God. We have found in our experience this great and important truth that sin never entered in in any other way than through the abuse of some blessing which God has given us.
We cannot refer to one single wrong, but we may
trace it to something that was good which our Heavenly Father has bestowed upon us. The apostle James said, “let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth He any man. But every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lusts and enticed.” Sin comes in when we suffer our animal powers to take the lead and govern us; they are blind, they are not to be trusted of themselves, and when they go beyond a proper point, there is where sin comes in, there is where we are called to be on our guard; reason and the will are placed over them, this is the part in man that causes him to be responsible. Reason is the highest power in man, and when it is enlightened by the Divine Spirit it is intended to govern all the passions and propensities of the rational soul. When man thus stands right all his powers are in harmony, and he may sing on the harp of God. I understand that all the attributes which our Heavenly Father has given are good, that man is perfect in this sphere, and if he keeps his place he may bring all his passions to act together in harmony, and there will be no discord, no sin there. In bringing about this work we come into a condition that we have wrought together with God. We have overcome, we have gained the ascendancy and we have come into the second heaven. This is a matter of experience, and we can all attain to it, and if we do not it is because there has been a neglect on our own part. There rests a great responsibility upon us for the right use of our reason, for this should always be brought into the work. I have heard some tell us that we should not use our reason. Some would have us go to the Scriptures, and depend upon them alone, and declare that we must not depend upon reason. But our Heavenly Father did not give us reason, the noblest gift that He has bestowed upon us, without intending that we should use it. Through the mouth of one of his prophets, he says: “Come, let us reason together,” and as we are willing to come before Him and hear what He has to say to us, by what is called the Christ of God, he will lead us, and by His inspiration enlightening our reason, we shall be saved. Our reason must be brought to the light and then all will be right, but if we turn away from the light, our reason will bring us into the condition which was called the serpent ; whenever we allow self-interest to take too much control it becomes a serpent, and this has deceived millions of mankind; the greatest intellects, those having the greatest talents have frequently taken this course, and it has ever proved a failure. Now, when we come to this great moral work of righteousness that is formed in us, we can understand the parables of Jesus: there is one in which he spoke of a certain man who was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among thieves, who beat him and robbed him and left him half dead, and the priest and the Levite passed by on the other side; but a Samaritan journeyed that way, he took compassion upon him. What was the moral condition of the first of these? They filled a place in the church, but they had not this moral righteousness that made the second heaven.
Again, Jesus divides the human family into two classes, and to one of these he said, “Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was an hungered and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger and ye took me in : naked and ye clothed me: I was sick and ye visited me.” And they said, “When saw we the an hungered and fed thee, thirsty and gave thee drink?” etc. Then he said, “Inasmuch as ye did it unto the least of these, ye did it unto me.” Then shall he say unto them on the left hand, “Depart from me; inasmuch as ye did not do it unto one of the least of these.” We can see the great force of the moral teachings of Jesus; it becomes clear then why he should separate them because they had not sympathy with the afflicted and downtrodden. Now we can see why the first party was right and the other was wrong, and as right and wrong cannot unite, can never come to: gether any more than fire and water, for the fire will dispel the water or the water will quench the fire and put it out ; so it is in regard to right and wrong. This is clearly set forth in this, so that all can understand the reason why such as these could not be united, but must be separated. As the priest and the Levite could have no sympathy with the afflicted, therefore they would be on the left hand. I do not speak with a view of reflect. ing upon any men or their calling, but I speak to show that men may hold places in the Church and be entirely void of that religion which Jesus came to teach. I do not accuse any minister or priest; but I want us to see the object of the instruction of Jesus Christ, and as we come to understand this it will do away with all mystery with regard to religion. There is no mystery in the religion of Jesus Christ, but it is a matter that deeply concerns the children of men, and we shall find that whatsoever God calls for at the hands of His children, He brings it down clearly before them, then, and not till then, are we held responsible by our Heavenly Father. Every parent brings his requirements down to the capacity of his children before he holds them responsible. So, too, our Heavenly Father makes it plain to us, and the reason that religion is so much in the dark is because men have neglected to look to the right source, have been looking to the traditions of former ages, looking to the Bible as the Word of God ; this is wrong, there is a great deal that is very valuable in the Scriptures and that may be a great encouragement to us, but we must go to that source and foundation which existed before the Scriptures were written, and that is our Heavenly Father and His word still continues to be for our instruction. “ Thy word is truth,” said Jesus. He had no reference to any writing, but to the Word of God which is revealed to every individual. He speaks to the soul directly, and it needs no translation. There is where we shall find the truth that will enable us to live out in this life the religion of Jesus Christ. This will enable us to enter into the third heaven, where we shall hear things that cannot be uttered. Here, my friends, we come to experience a condition wherein our spirit is united with our Heavenly Father, and we have a sense and
feeling of things that words have no power to utter. Here is the third heaven. We have passed from the first heaven of our infantile life and have gone above the second heaven of moral righteousness through the works of our own hands, and have entered into the third heaven in which we have overcome and have passed from these into that condition where we have continual fellowship with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ, and then we have the victory over all that can harm or destroy.
PHILADELPHIA YEARLY MEETING.-1885.
The meeting of Ministers and Elders was held on Seventh-day, the 9th inst., at Race Street Meetinghouse.
The usual business was transacted, and Friends had the company of Sunderland P. Gardner and his companion, Edward Eldridge, of Ann Packer and her companion, Elizabeth A. Davis, with minutes; and of Thomas Foulke, of New York, without a minute. Other valued Friends from a distance were also in attendance. There was a feeling of gratitude to the Author of all good that so many of his faithful servants are present with us at this annual convocation.
On First-day morning, the 10th inst., large meetings assembled at all our regular places for public worship. At the Meeting-house at Fifteenth and Race, the assembly was not only full but densely crowded. A Friend rose and opened the services of the meeting by an apt quotation from Sacred Scripture.
He was followed by Sunderland P. Gardner, who spoke with great earnestness and power for forty minutes, giving a clear and eminently satisfactory exposition of the essential doctrines of the Christian religion as these have been taught by the Spirit of Divine Wisdom to many generations of mankind. This sermon will be found in the first part of this paper. The deep attention with which the large audience listened, was evidence that the truths enunciated were heard by many responsive spirits who could respond, “Servant of God, well done.” Thomas Foulke and others spoke briefly and appropriately.
o large meeting was held in the afternoon, at which the First-day Schools were represented. Meetings of this kind appear to be much valued by the children and by those who are engaged in the work of instructing them. The pupils of the School at Fifteenth and Race did not take part in the recitations, giving place to other Schools outside the limits of Philadelphia, that were present and participated in the exercises.
At Green Street Meeting-house, the gathering was no larger than usual. Amos Jones, Reuben Wilson, Elizabeth Plummer, Mary Bradway, Elizabeth Paxson, Mary P. Thomas and others gave brief and acceptable testimony. S. P. Gardener attended Spruce Street Meeting in the afternoon, and spoke with his usual power and earnestness. He was also present at Girard Avenue meeting in the evening, and preached, to a crowded audience, a sermon that will long be remembered for the clearness of its exposition of the simple and practical doctrines of the Society of Friends.