Joseph John Gurney.

Sermons and prayers, delivered in the city of Philadelphia. Taken in short-hand online

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Online LibraryJoseph John GurneySermons and prayers, delivered in the city of Philadelphia. Taken in short-hand → online text (page 1 of 6)
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Astor Lenox and Tilden Foundations


Deposited by the













R 1914 , L

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1838, by
Edward Hopper, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court, for
the Eastern District of Pennsylvania,

J. Richards, Printer.


In reporting the following Discourses, great care has been
taken to preserve the precise language in which they were
delivered; but it is due to their distinguished author, to state,
that they have not had the benefit of his revision, having beqn
published without his knowledge.



"Be it known unto you all, and to all the people
of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Naza-
reth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the
dead, even by him doth this man stand before you
whole." "And his name, through faith in his name,
hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know;
yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this
perfect soundness in the presence of you all."

Such, or nearly such, was the language of the
apostle Peter, in company with his anointed brother
John, when he was examined, before the rulers of
the Jews, touching the notable miracle which they
had been instrumental in performing at the beautiful
gate of the temple. And it seems to me, that it may
be worthy of remark, that this remarkable miracle
was distinguished like the other miracles of the New
Testament, therein described, by certain circum-
stances which greatly enhance the value of the evi-
dence thereof, as a credential of the divine authority


of our holy religion, considered as a message from
the Supreme Governor of the universe. That mira-
cle was wrought in the presence of many witnesses
in public. The change produced in the poor believ-
ing cripple was immediate, and could not possibly be
accounted for by any secondary cause, for he had
been a cripple from his very birth; and moreover, the
fact was afterwards tested by a close public examina-
tion, and the rulers of the Jews were totally unable
to find the least flaw in it. And I believe it would be
well for some skeptical minds to observe the differ-
ence between the miracles of Christianity, and those
false wonders wrought as it were, in secret corners,
as some people assert, which have disgraced the an-
nals of some modern religious professors.

Now, my dear friends, the more we examine the
recorded history of our Lord Jesus Christ, and his
apostles, the more we shall find that the evidence of
the direct divine authority of the christian religion,
rests on very sober, and very solid grounds ; satisfac-
tory to the most enlightened and profound of reasoners,
satisfactory also to the simple in heart, who perhaps
are the very best judges of plain truth. And I have
been led during the very solemn silence which has
prevailed in the early part of this meeting, to dwell
a little upon this confession made by the apostle ; and
it seems right for me to remark that, not only have
we here an evidence palpable and very plain, of the
divine authority of the message of life and salvation


which the apostles communicated to their fellow-
men, — their words being confirmed by their works,
as the words of truth — but it seems to me impossible
to take a calm and fair view of this memorable event,
without perceiving in it, one evidence among many
others, of the true and proper divinity of our Lord
Jesus Christ; of the omnipotent power in him, by
which he controlled and suspended the very laws of
nature according to his own will; because we plain-
ly find that the marvellous change wrought upon that
poor decrepit one, was not produced by any power
whatever in the apostles ; they were bare instruments
of the introduction, as it were, of that event ; it was
by the name of Jesus Christ, even by him, that the
poor cripple stood before the admiring multitude,
whole; and not only stood, but walked, and leaped,
and praised God. And it was by faith in the name
of the Saviour, that he was restored to that perfect
state of bodily strength in the presence of them all;
just as the leper was, before many witnesses also,
when he came in the true faith to Jesus, " and wor-
shipped, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make
me clean." And Jesus answered, " I will; be thou
clean." So there was first an expression of the sov-
ereign will or purpose, and then the act of divine
power immediately follows. And we are expressly
informed, that when the apostles went forth on their
high, holy, and truly pre-eminent mission of promul-
gating the great truths of the gospel, in all their full-


ness, to a world lying in darkness, it is expressly
stated, that the Lord, even the Lord Jesus, went with
them confirming their words by signs following. And
although the apostles were the appointed instruments
by which these miracles were wrought, it is abun-
dantly clear that it was the power of the risen and
glorified Jesus, by which they were effected. As on
another occasion, when Peter stood by the bed-side
of the palsied Eneas; he said unto him, "Eneas,
Jesus Christ maketh thee whole."

Now it may be remarked, and it does appear a
very important circumstance, that the apostle express-
ly declares, that the miracle of this cripple from his
birth, was wrought by the name of Jesus Christ of
Nazareth. We find it so in parts of the relation ;
Jesus Christ of Nazareth ; the incarnate One, my be-
loved friends. "And the Word was made flesh, and
dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory
as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace
and truth." Jesus of Nazareth, the man of sorrows and
acquainted with grief, whose visage was more marred
than any man, and his form more than the sons of men.
Jesus of Nazareth, who took upon him the form of a
servant, and washed his disciples' feet; and came not
into the world to be ministered unto, but to minister,
and to give his life as a ransom for many. Jesus of
Nazareth, whose sweat was as great drops of blood,
when he was in agony in the garden of Gethsemane,
and when the plaintive cry was heard to rise up.


"If it be possible, let this cup pass from me; never-
theless, not as I will, but as thou wilt." Jesus of
Nazareth, who bowed under the weight of his
cross, who was nailed to that fatal tree on Calvary's
Mount, and who was hanging there in indescribable
agony of body, for the space of about six hours; and
you know friends that during these three noon-day
hours, there was, the latter part of the time, a veil
and a shroud of solemn portentous darkness upon
the face of nature, and nature seemed to own her sov-
ereign Lord! And O, the depth of the affliction of
his soul, when under the inconceivable pressure of
the sins of all mankind, in all ages, he cried out,
" My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"
And at length in the most solemn and important of
all moments that have ever marked the course of
time in the history of mankind, he said, " It is fin-
ished: and he bowed his head and gave up the ghost."
Then, my beloved friends, was the great atoning sa-
crifice made for the sins of all mankind in all ages.
Then were the shadows and ceremonies of the Jew-
ish law fulfilled and abolished, as far as their author-
ity went ; then was the glorious gospel introduced
in its fulness for the welfare of all men, of every
name, of every country, of every colour. Then
was the veil which separated between the sanctuary
and the Holy of holies in the temple of God, rent
asunder from the top to the bottom, and a way of en-
trance was opened for every poor believing sinner


through the veil — that is to say his flesh, his body
that was broken, and his blood that was shed for us —
into the holiest place of all, where cherubims and
seraphims dwell in their glory, and perpetually do
cry, Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God of hosts, and
the whole earth shall be filled with his glory. Jesus
of Nazareth, who burst the bands of death asunder,
triumphed over the prison-house of the grave, breathed
upon his disciples, and said, " Receive ye the Holy
Ghost;" and after forty days ascended up in a cloud
of glory, to the mansions of the heavens above, and
sat at the right hand of the Majesty on high, when
the cry did indeed go forth to the gates and everlast-
ing doors of the kingdom of heaven, " Lift up your
heads, ye gates ; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting
doors ; and the King of glory shall come in. Who
is the King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty,
the Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads,
ye gates ; even lift them up ye everlasting doors ; and
the King of glory shall come in. Who is the King
of glory? The Lord of hosts, he is the King of
glory." Yes, friends, it was by his name, by his
power, a power unchangeable and eternal, that the
decrepit one, the cripple from his birth, stood before
the multitude in the condition of perfect soundness.
He derived the strength of his limb in its new per-
fection, from the immediate operation of the creative
power of the Son of God, one with the Father, who
said, " I and my Father are one." Yes, that eter-


nal Word who was in the beginning with God, and
was God. Was himself God, not merely the word
or spirit of God, as some pretend, dwelt in him when
he walked among men, which may be said of every
good man on the face of God's earth — but he was
the eternal Word, and that Word was made flesh,
and dwelt among us; and he was Jesus of Nazareth,
whom the Jews crucified, whom God raised up on
the third day, who in his divine nature, his eternal,
unchangeable power, did restore the poor cripple to
that state of health and strength, energy and activity
of body, in a moment.

O, my beloved friends, are there any persons here
in this large and solemn assembly, who are number-
ed among the doubters and disputers of this world,
and who elude the grasp of plain truth, by certain
circuitous speculations of their own, which have no
foundation in the plain testimony of Scripture? I be-
lieve, friends, the day is coming when many who
have been numbered among the doubters and dispu-
ters and speculators of this world, will come bended
before the extended sceptre of the King of kings, and
before the very same power by which the cripple
was made whole. And they are cripples, they can
feel it, they know it; their want of faith has crippled
them. Alas ! alas ! what strong men some might
have been in the camp of Israel, and in the army of
the Lamb, and in the warfare of truth and righteous-
ness, if they had not been crippled by the strong


hand of that spiritual enemy whose existence they
pretend to deny — through their want of faith deny
the existence of the spiritual enemy of their souls;
convert him into an oriental image and figure of poe-
try. I think I am addressing some one mind at least,
who has harboured a view of this kind — for it seems
brought before me by that which I do not hold it to
be safe to resist. We know that this adversary of
souls is described by our blessed Saviour as the fa-
ther of lies, a liar from the beginning. And amongst
all the lies that he has palmed upon the doubters and
speculators amongst men, this surely is the most
crafty, and most refined, by which he has persuaded
them to deny that he has any existence at all; and
therefore they are not wearing that panoply of God,
by which we are instructed in Scripture to stand
against the wiles of the devil. Of what use is the
panoply of God to them that have no devil to con-
tend with ? According to their view, why should they
wear the breastplate of righteousness and shield of
faith? " We wrestle not against flesh and blood,"
said the Apostle, " but against principalities, against
powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this
world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."
" AVherefore,"-— mark the word,- — " wherefore take
unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be
able to withstand in the evil day, and having done
all, stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt
about with truth, and having on the breastplate of


righteousness; and your feet shod with the prepara-
tion of the gQspel of peace; above all, taking the
shield of faith, whereby ye shall be able to quench
all the fiery darts of the wicked."

And O, my soul is clothed with a very sweet hope,
that there are individuals in this assembly, who hav-
ing vilely cast away their shield, as if it had never
been anointed with oil, upon the barren mountains of
mere theoretical and speculative religion, will now in
the tender mercies of their God, be permitted an op-
portunity of laying hold once more of the good old
shield, and who, as I humbly trust, will embrace the
opportunity in the life and light of eternal truth,
that they may once more contend valliantly against
the hosts of the Philistines, and against the antetype
of Goliah, the prince of the power of the air, the
spirit that now worketh in the children of disobe-
dience; and although they have been miserably crip-
pled, although their high and holy course has been
impeded indeed, yet now in the name of Jesus Christ
of Nazareth, — mark ye, — of Nazareth, not a Christ
of your own phantasm — but now in the name of Jesus
Christ of Nazareth, whom the Jews crucified, and
whom God raised from the dead, Rise up and walk
ye, and leap for joy, and praise God for your deliver^
ance from the power of darkness, and for your trans-
lation, as I humbly trust it may be, into the kingdom
of God's dear Son, who is the same yesterday, to-
day, and forever; and who is descending by his Holy


Spirit upon this large assembly, gathered into deep
solemnity before him, like showers upon the mown
grass ; blessed be his holy and glorious name forever

Yes, my dear friends, although we are beset with
many difficulties, and have been, as a people, robbed
and spoiled and peeled among the children of men,
there is a living remnant, there will be, I believe, an
increasing remnant, and the cords will be lengthened,
and the stakes strengthened, and it shall be, yes, it
is even now known, that the Lord, the risen, the
glorified Redeemer of men, the reigning Saviour,
shall be for a crown of glory, and for a diadem of
beauty, to the residue of his people ; and for a spirit
of judgment to them who sit in judgment, and for
strength to them who turn the battle to the gate.

Is it said that we, as a people, we the Society called
Quakers, we, deny the divinity of Christ ? Is this
asserted of us? We, deny it? We, of all others, whose
testimony has ever been as clear as day, that we own
no other President in our religious assemblies, but
the glorified Head of the universal church, who min-
isters to all who need, of his people all the world
over; an omnipresent Saviour who knows the plague
of every heart, and can apply the remedy there; we,
deny the divinity of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, who
profess and have always professed, and I trust always
shall profess, that we own no baptism, but the bap-
tism of Christ himself, which is with the Holy Ghost


and with fire ? — A divine attribute, a divine act ; an
attribute and act of Jehovah. " I indeed baptize you
with water unto repentance : but he that cometh af-
ter me" — and who was it that came after him? the
incarnate Word; the Word made flesh; Jesus of Na-
zareth ; the man who dwelt at Nazareth ; the man
who died on the cross, and who in his divine nature
is over all, God blessed forever— -" He that cometh
after me, is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not
worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy
Ghost, and with fire."

And my dear friends, the Lord in his mercy grant,
that we may no longer as a people, or as individual
members of this people, be satisfied with moving on
the mere surface of things; but may we be baptized,
every one, with the Holy Ghost, and with fire, that
our hard things, and our high things, and all our
idolatry, and our covetousness, and our speculations,
and all our false glories, may be broken to pieces ;
and that we may know the eternal truth to rise into
dominion amongst us, as it did amongst our forefa-
thers in days of old ; that we may know the shout of
a Mighty King, even King Jesus, to be heard within
our borders ; and that our young people may flock
and rally round the unfurled banner of Jesse's im-
mortal Son. And then there will be evidence in
abundance, in the practical result, of the truth of
those religious principles which we believe it our
duty steadily to maintain in the face of all nations,


say the doubters on the one hand, and the cavillers
on the other, what they please.

O, my beloved friends, the faith which is in Jesus,
gave to this poor man that perfect soundness in the
presence of them all. And may we know that same
faith to bring us into perfect soundness spiritually.
O, these unsound things, like the marshy, miry,
places into which some have fallen, by departing
from the plain truth ! You know there is that which
can heal them. It is the old power, and the ever
new power of the risen Saviour, who bought us with
his own blood, and who baptized us with his own
Spirit. Come, then come ; is there any thing which
we can desire more than a state of spiritual sound-
ness ? It is the privilege of the true-hearted chris-
tian ; " For God hath not given us the spirit of fear,
but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."

Come, my beloved friends, and bow under the
mighty power of Jesus. " O Israel, thou hast de-
stroyed thyself; but in me is thine help." " Return,
ye backsliding children, and I will heal your back-
slidings. Behold, we come unto thee ; for thou art
the Lord our God. Truly in vain is salvation hoped
for from the hills, and from the multitude of moun-
tains : truly in the Lord our God is the salvation of



Under an awful and solemn sense of thy presence,
thou everlasting, all-glorious, incomprehensible, and
infinite Jehovah ! we would unite in glorifying thine
ever- worthy and excellent name. Whither can we
go from thy Spirit, and whither can we flee from thy
presence ? Thou omniscient Searcher of all hearts,
we acknowledge that unto thee, with thy well be-
loved Son, our Holy Redeemer, belong, and must be
ascribed through the power of the Holy Ghost, all
honor, glory, dominion and power, world without

We pray thee to look down upon these thy chil-
dren, who are now gathered before thee in solemn
worship; and if there be any whose minds have been
clouded by the dark mists of unbelief, we reverently
pray thee, that the bright beam of the Sun of righ-
teousness may now illuminate their darkness, and
give them to see the truth, the all-glorious truth, in
its essential features, as it is in Jesus; that they may
come to know him, our Saviour and Redeemer, to
be made unto them, indeed, a Father who is wisdom
to direct them, sanctification to cleanse them, and
righteousness to save them in full and final redemp-



O Lord God ! for thy dear Son's sake, may it
please thee to deliver many young ones, especially
such as may have become bewildered in the laby-
rinth of error, from all the powers of darkness, and
to translate them into the kingdom of thy dear Son,
in whom we have redemption through his blood, the
forgiveness of sins. And O, Holy One of Israel! we
pray thee, that there may be preserved, and greatly
increased among this people, a living, baptized rem-
nant — baptized with the Holy Ghost, and with fire, —
who shall, in the maintenance of their well known
christian testimonies and principles, be steadfast, im-
movable, always abounding in thy work, forasmuch
as they know that their labour shall not be in vain
in thee. If there are those who have entered into
covenant with thee, and have made their escape as
from the city of Gomorrah, and are ascending as it
were, into the hill-country, that there, they may come
to sit in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, preserve
them, most merciful Father, from looking back, lest
they be turned like Lot's wife, into a pillar of salt, a
useless, lifeless, motionless thing.

O thou Holy One of Israel ! pour forth upon us,
we reverently pray thee, the blessed influence of thy
Holy Spirit, that we may be animated to go forward
in our christian course, nothing fearing, nothing
doubting, looking unto Jesus the Author and Finish-
er of our faith, that so we may grow stronger and
stronger, until every one shall appear before thee in


the Heavenly Zion, through the blood of the ever-
lasting covenant.

Most merciful God and Father, who nearest and
answerest the cry of thy people, even the deep-felt
sighing and groaning in spirit of the broken in heart,
we are emboldened now to petition that this multi-
tude who are now assembled in solemn worship in
the church militant, may be permitted to re-assemble
one with another, in league with all the innumerable
company of saints and of angels, before the throne
of thy Glory, there to cast every crown at thy feet;
there to acknowledge that thou art eternally worthy
of all our service, and of all our praise — Hallelujah!
Hallelujah ! — for thou, O Lord God ! omnipotent



" As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they
are the sons of God."

Seeing, beloved friends, that all our hope of true
peace in this world, and of eternal happiness in the
world to come, depends upon our being sons and daugh-
ters of God, in the sense in which the expression is
here used by the apostle, it may surely be worth our
while to enquire somewhat particularly, what it is,
to be led by the Spirit of God. We are all of us
sons and daughters of God by creation, in common
with all our fellow-men the world over. But here
there is a still nearer relation alluded to, which is
described in Scripture as adoption. And those only
who are sons and daughters of God by adoption, are
heirs of that glory which is laid up in the world to
come, for all them who are kept by the power of
God, through faith unto salvation. And here the


apostle marks and selects one general characteristic,
by which the sons of God by adoption, may be
distinguished. "As many as are led by the Spirit
of God, they are the sons of God."

These words arose with me, since we have been
sitting together in silence. I have brought them not
hither ; for I can truly say that it was only under an
impression of duty, and under a feeling of gospel
love, that I was led to invite our neighbors on this
occasion; not knowing what word or work would
here be required of me.

Now I would address this question to the inquiring
mind, for it lies at the very threshold of our subject ;
What does the apostle here mean by the Spirit of
God ? Does he mean the influence of the natural mind ?
Does he mean the conclusions of human reason ? Does
he mean the dictates of the conscience, that faculty
whereby we judge of right and wrong ? No : he means
an influence by which that faculty is directed; the in-
fluence of the Holy Ghost, which is God. God with
the Father, and God with the Son. A supernatural
influence, an influence which forms no part whatever
of the constitution of the human mind ; an influence
which is as distinct from the soul, as the wind which
meets us when we are walking or riding, is distinct
from the body. A sober, plain, unquestionable reality.
Although not subjected to the natural sense of man,
and although utterly despised by the wise men after
the flesh, by the philosopher and speculator who


know not God, by those who delight themselves in
tine-spun theories in religion, without coming home
to the practical and vital truth ; but an influence
known by the babes in Christ, an influence percep-
tible to the rational mind, an influence felt beyond
expression, by all who are awakened to a real solici-
tude for their eternal welfare.

The mind or soul of man is a spirit, an imma-

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Online LibraryJoseph John GurneySermons and prayers, delivered in the city of Philadelphia. Taken in short-hand → online text (page 1 of 6)