William Evans.

The Friends' library : comprising journals, doctrinal treatises, and other writings of members of the religious Society of Friends (Volume 1) online

. (page 43 of 105)
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tentment, but restored his place in the esteem
and affections of his relatives and made him
honourable in the eyes of the world for his
Christian virtues. His father loved him with
increased tenderness ; and with his dying
breath bore testimony in favour of the reli-
gious principles which his son had adopted.

William Penn was in the twenty-fourth year
of his age when he wrote " No Cross, No
Crown." It was not therefore produced by



weariness of the world, or that disgust which
arises from satiety. It was the result of a
calm and deliberate survey of its manners and
customs, viewed with the eye of a sincere and
devoted Christian. He thought, and felt, and
wrote, as one sensible of the dignity and noble
endowments of man, and of his high destiny as
an immortal being. The solidity of the argu-
ment, the depth of Christian experience, the
exalted morality and pure religion, with which
the work is fraught, commend it to the serious
and attentive perusal of all denominations of
V^-o^^^^o^s. Editors.



The great business of man's life is to
answer the end for which he lives ; and that
is, to glorify God, and save his own soul.
This is the deci'ee of heaven, as old as the
world. But so it is, that man mindeth nothing
less, than what he should most mind ; and de-
spiseth to inquire into his own being, its origi-
nal, duty and end; choosing rather to dedicate
his days, the steps he should make to blessed-
ness, to gratify the pride, avarice and luxury
of his heart ; as if he had been born for him-
self, or rather given himself being, and so not
subject to the reckoning and judgment of a
superior power. To this lamentable pass hath
poor man brought himself, by his disobedience
to the law of God in his heart, by doing that
which he knows he should not do, and leaving
undone what he knows he should do. So long
as this disease continueth upon man, he will
make God his enemy, and himself incapable
of the love and salvation, which he hath
manifested by his Son, Jesus Christ, to the

If, reader, thou art such an one, my counsel
to thee is, to retire into thyself, and take a
view of the condition of thy soul ; for Christ
hath given thee light, with which to do it.
Search carefully and thoroughly ; thy life
hangs upon it; thy soul is at stake. 'Tis but
once to be done ; if thou abusest thyself in it,
the loss is irreparable ; the world is not price
enough to ransom thee. Wilt thou then, for
such a world, overstay the time of thy salva-
tion, and lose thy soul? Thou hast to do, I
grant thee, with great patience ; but that also
must have an end : therefore provoke not
God to reject thee. Dost thou know what it
is to be rejected? 'Tis Tophet, 'tis hell, the
eternal anguish of the damned. Oh! reader,
as one knowing the terrors of the Lord, I per-

suade thee to be serious, diligent and fervent
about thy own salvation ! As one knowing the
comfort, peace, joy and pleasure of the ways
of righteousness, I exhort and invite thee to
embrace the reproofs and convictions of Christ's
light and spirit in thine own conscience, and
bear the judgment of thy sin. The fire burns
but the stubble ; the wind blows only the chaff.
Yield thy body, soul and spirit to Him who
maketh all things new; new heavens and new
earth, new love, new joy, new peace, new
works, a new life and conversation. Men are
grown corrupt and drossy by sin, and they
must be saved through fire, which purgeth it
away ; therefore the word of God is compared
to a fire, and the day of salvation to an oven;
and Christ himself to a refiner of gold, and a
purifier of silver.

Come, reader, hearken to me a while ; I
seek thy salvation ; that is my design. A re-
finer is come near thee, his grace hath ap-
peared to thee : It shows thee the world's lusts,
and teacheth thee to deny them. Receive his
leaven, and it will change thee ; his medicine,
and it will cure thee : he is as infallible as
free ; without money, and with certainty. A
touch of his garment did it of old ; and will
do it still : his virtue is the same, it cannot be
exhausted ; for in him the fulness dwells ;
Blessed be God for his sufficiency. He laid
help upon him, that he might be mighty to
save all that come to God through him : do
thou so, and he will change thee : yes, change
thy vile body, like unto his glorious body.
He is the great philosopher indeed, the wisdom
of God, that turns lead into gold, vile things
into things precious: for he maketh saints out
of sinners, and almost gods of men. What
then must we do, to be witnesses of his power
and love? This is the crown : but where is
the cross? Where is the bitter cup and bloody
baptism ? Come, reader, be like him. For this
transcendent joy, lift up thy head above the
world; then thy salvation will draw nigh- in-

Christ's cross is Christ's way to Christ's
crown. This is the subject of the following
discourse ; first written during my confine-
ment in the tower of London, in the year
1668, now reprinted with great enlargement
of matter and testimonies ; that thou mayest be
won to Christ ; or if won already, brought
nearer to him. It is a path, which God in his
everlasting kindness guided my feet into, in
the flower of my youth, when about two and
twenty years of age. He took me by the
hand, and led me out of the pleasures, vanities
and hopes of the world. I have tasted of
Christ's judgments, and of his mercies, and of
the world's frowns and reproaches : I rejoice
in my experience, and dedicate it to thy ser-



vice in Christ. It is a debt I have long owed,
and has been long expected : I have now paid
it, and delivered my soul. To my country,
and to the world of Christians I leave it : May
God, if he please, make it effectual to them
all, and turn their hearts from that envy,
hatred and bitterness, they have one against
another, about worldly things; sacrificing hu-
manity and charity to ambition and covetous-
ness, for which they fill the earth with trouble
and oppression. That receiving the spirit of
Christ into their hearts, the fruits of which
are love, peace, joy, temperance and patience,
brotherly kindness and charity, they may in
body, soul and spirit make a triple league
against the world, the flesh and the devil, the
only common enemies of mankind ; and hav-
ing conquered them through a life of self-de-
nial, by the power of the cross of Jesus, they
may at last attain to the eternal rest and king-
dom of God.

So desireth, so prayeth.

Thy fervent Christian friend,

William Penn.




1. Of the necessity of the Cross of Christ in gene-
ral ; yet the little regard Christians have to it.
2. The degeneracy of Christendom from purity
to lust, and from moderation to excess. 3. That
worldly lusts and pleasures are become the care
and study of Christians, so that they have ad-
vanced ugon the impiety of infidels. 4. This
defection a second part to the Jewish tragedy,
and worse than the first : the scorn Christians
have cast on their Saviour. 5. Sin is of one
nature all the world over ; sinners are of the
same church, the devil's children : profession of
religion in wicked men, makes them but the
worse. 6. A wolf is not a lamb, a sinner can-
not be (whilst such) a saint. 7. The wicked
will persecute the good; this false Christians
have done to the true, for noncompliance with
their superstitions : the strange carnal measures
false Christians have taken of Christianity ; the
danger of that self-seduction. 8. The sense of
that has obliged me to this discourse, for a dis-
suasive against the world's lusts, and an invita-
tion to take up the daily cross of Christ, as the
way left us by him to blessedness. 9. Of the
self-condemnation of the wicked; that religion
and worship are comprised in doing the will of
God. The advantage good men have upon bad
men in the last judgment. 10. A supplication

for Christendom, that she may not be rejected
in that great assize of the world. She is ex-
horted to consider, what relation she bears to
Christ; if her Saviour, how saved, and fi-om
what: what her experience is of that great
work. That Christ came to save from sin, and
wrath by consequence : not to save men in sin,
but from it, and so the wages of it.

1 . Though the knowledge and obedience of
the doctrine of the cross of Christ be of infi-
nite moment to the souls of men ; being the
the only door to true Christianity, and tlie path '
which the ancients ever trod to blessedness ;
yet, with extreme affliction, let me say, it is
so little understood, so much neglected, and
what is worse, so bitterly contradicted, by the
vanity, superstition, and intemperance of pro-
fessed Christians, that we must either renounce
the belief of what the Lord Jesus hath told us,
" That whosoever doth not take up his daily
cross, and come after him, cannot be his dis-
ciple ;" or, admitting it for truth, conclude,
that the generality of Christendom do misera-
bly deceive and disappoint themselves in the
great business of Christianity, and their own

2. Foi', let us be ever so tender and chari-
table in the survey of those nations that claim
an interest in the holy name of Christ, if we
will but bo just too, we must needs acknow-
ledge, that after all the gracious advantages
of light, and obligations to fidelity, which these
latter ages of the world have received, by the
coming, life, doctrine, miracles, death, resur-
rection, and ascension of Christ, with the gifts
of his Holy Spirit ; to which add, the writings,
labours and mai'tyrdom of his dear followers
in all times ; there seems very little left of
Christianity but the name : which being now
usurped by the old heathen nature and life,
makes the professors of it but true heathens
in disguise. For though they worship not the
same idols, they worship Christ with the same
heart : and they can never do otherwise, whilst
they live in the same lusts. The unmortified
Christian and the heathen are of the same re-
ligion. For though they have different objects,
to which they direct their prayers, adoration
in both is but forced and ceremonious, and the
deity they truly worship is the god of tJiis world,
the great lord of lusts : to him they bow ^ith
the whole powers of soul and sense. ^Miat
shall we eat? What shall we drink ? What
shall we wear? And how shall we pass away
our time? Which way may we gather wealth,
increase our power, enlarge our territories,
and dignify and perpetuate our names and
families in the earth ? This base sensuality is
comprised by the beloved apostle Jolm, in these
words : " the lust of the fleshj the lust of the



eye, and the pride of life, which are not of
the Father, but of the world that lieth in wick-

3. It is a mournful reflection, but a truth
which will not be denied, that these worldly
lusts fill up a great part of the study, care and
conversation of Christendom ! And, what ag-
gravates the misery is, they grow with time.
For as the world is older, it is worse. The
examples of former lewd ages, and their mi-
serable conclusions, have not deterred, but ex-
cited ours ; so that the people of this day, seem
improvers of the old stock of impiety, and
have carried it so much farther than exam-
ple, that instead of advancing in virtue, upon
better times, they are scandalously fallen be-
low the life of heathens. Their high-minded-
ness, lasciviousness, uncleanness, drunken-
ness, swearing, lying, envy, backbiting, cru-
elty, treachery, covetousness, injustice and
oppression, are so common and committed
with such invention and excess, that they have
stumbled and embittered infidels and made
them scorn that holy religion, to which their
good example should have won their affec-

4. This miserable defection from primitive
times, when the glory of Christianity was the
purity of its professors, I cannot but call the
second and worst part of the Jewish tragedy
upon the blessed Saviour of mankind. For
the Jews, from the power of ignorance, and
their prejudice against the unworldly way of
his appearance, would not acknowledge him
when he came, but for two or three years per-
secuted, and finally crucified him in one day.
But the false Christians' cruelty lasts longer :
they have first, with Judas, professed him, and
then, for these many ages, most basely betray-
ed, persecuted, and crucified him, by a perpe-
tual apostacy in manners from the self-denial
and holiness of his doctrine ; their lives giving
the lie to their faith. These are they that the
author of the epistle to the Hebrews tells us,
" crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh,
and put him to open shame." Their defiled
hearts, John, in his revelation, styles, the
streets of Sodom and Egypt spiritually so
called, where he beheld the Lord Jesus cruci-
fied, long after he had been ascended. As
Christ said of old, a man's enemies are those
of his own house ; so Christ's enemies now,
are chiefly those of his own profession : " they
spit upon him, they nail and pierce him, they
crown him with thorns, and give him gall and
vinegar to drink." Nor is this hard to ap-
prehend ; for they that live in the same evil
nature and principle that the Jews did, who
crucified him outwardly, must needs crucify
him inwardly. They that reject the grace
now, in their own hearts, are one in stock

and generation with the hard-hearted Jews,
who resisted the gi'ace that then appeared in
and by Christ.

5. Sin is of one nature all the world over ;
for though a liar is not a drunkard, nor a
swearer a whoremonger, nor either properly
a murderer ; yet they are all of a church ; all
branches of the one wicked root ; all of kin.
They have but one father, the devil, as Christ
said to the professing Jews, the visible church
of that age. He slighted their pretensions to
Abraham and Moses, and plainly told them,
he that committed sin, was the servant of sin.
They did the devil's works, and therefore were
the devil's children. The argument will al-
ways hold upon the same reasons, and there-
fore is good still. " His servants you are,"
saith Paul, " whom you obey :" and, saith
John to the church of old ; " Let no man de-
ceive you, he that committeth sin, is of the
devil." Was Judas a better Christian for cry-
ing, Hail, master ! and kissing Christ 1 By no
means. These words were the signal of his
treachery ; the token given, by which the
bloody Jews should know and take him. He
called him Master, but betrayed him. He kiss-
ed, but sold him to be killed. This is the up-
shot of the false Christians' religion. If a
man ask them, is Christ your Lord 1 they will
cry ; God forbid else. Yes, he is our Lord.
Very well, but do you keep his command-
ments ? No, how should we ? How then are
you his disciples ? It is impossible, say they ;
What ! would you have us keep his command-
ments ? No man can. What ! is it impossible
to do that, without which Christ hath made it
impossible to be a Christian? Is Christ un-
reasonable? Does he reap where he has not
sown ; require where he has not enabled?
Thus it is, that, with Judas, they call him
Master, but take part with the evil of the
world to betray him ; and kiss and embrace
him, as far as a specious profession goes ; and
then sell him, to gratify the passion they most
indulge. Thus, as God said of old, they
make him serve with their sins, and for their
sins too.

6. " Let no man deceive his own soul ;
grapes are not gathered of thorns, nor figs of
thistles :" a wolf is not a sheep, nor is a vul-
ture a dove. Whatever form, people, or
church thou art of, it is the truth of God to
mankind, that they who have the form of god-
liness, but by their unmortified lives deny the
power thereof, make not the true, but false
church : which though she entitle herself the
Lamb's bride, or church of Christ, she is that
mystery or mysterious Babylon, fitly called
by the Holy Ghost, " the mother of harlots,
and all abominations ;" because degenerated
from Christian chastity and purity, into all the



enormities of heathen Babylon ; a sumptuous
city of old time, much noted as the seat of the
kings of Babylon, and at that time a place of
the greatest pride and luxury. As she was
then, so mystical Babylon is now, the great
enemy of God's people.

7. True it is, they that are born of the flesh,
hate and persecute them that are born of the
spirit, who are the circumcision in heart.
They cannot own nor worship God after her
inventions, methods and prescriptions, nor I'e-
ceive for doctrine, her vain traditions, any
more than they can comply with her corrupt
fashions and customs in their conversation.
The case being thus, from an apostate she
becomes a persecutor. It is not enough that
she herself declines from ancient purity; others
must do so too. She will give those no rest,
who will not partake with her in that degene-
racy, or receive her mark. Are any wiser
than she, than mother church ? No, no :
nor can any make war with the beast she
rides upon ; those worldly powers that protect
her, and vow her maintenance against the
cries of her dissenters. Apostacy and super-
stition are ever proud and impatient of dissent.
All must conform, or perish. Therefore the
slain witnesses, and the blood of the souls
under the altar, are found within the walls of
this mystical Babylon, this great city of false
Christians, and are charged upon her by the
Holy Ghost, in the revelation. Nor is it
strange that she should slay the servants,
who had first crucified their Lord : but it is
strange and barbarous too, that she should kill
her husband, and murder her Saviour, titles
she seems so fond of, which have been so pro-
fitable to her ; and by which she would recom-
mend herself, though without justice. Her
children are reduced so entirely under the do-
minion of darkness, by means of their con-
tinued disobedience to the manifestation of the
divine hght in their souls, that they forget
what man once was, or what they should now
be ; and know not true and pure Christianity,
when they meet it ; though they pride them-
selves in professing it. Their views about
salvation are so carnal and false, they call
good evil, and evil good. They make a devil
a Christian, and a saint a devil. So that
though the unrighteous latitude of their lives
be matter of lamentation, as it is of destruc-
tion to themselves, yet the false notion, that
they may be children of God, while in a state
of disobedience to his holy commandments ;
and disciples of Jesus, though they revolt
from his cross ; and members of his true
church, which is without spot or wrinkle, not-
withstanding their lives are full of spots and
wrinkles ; is, of all other deceptions upon
themselves, the most pernicious to their eter-

nal condition. For they are at peace in sin,
and under a security in their transgression.
Their vain hope silences their convictions, and
overlays all tender motions to repentance : so
that their mistake about their duty to God, is
as mischievous as their rebellion against him.
Thus they walk on precipices, and flatter
themselves, till the grave swallows them up,
and the judgment of the great God breaks the
lethargy, and undeceives their poor wretched
souls with the anguish of the wicked, as the
reward of their work.

8. This has been, is, and will be the doorri
of all worldly Christians : An end so dread-
ful, that if there were nothing of duty to God,
or of obligation to men, being a man, and
one acquainted with the terrors of the Lord
in the way and work of my own salvation,
compassion alone were sufficient to excite me
to this dissuasive against the world's super-
stition and lusts, and to invite the professors
of Christianity to the knowledge and obedi-
ence of the daily cross of Christ, as the alone
way, left by him, and appointed us to blessed-
ness. Thus they who now do but usurp the
name, may have the thing itself; and by the
power of the cross, to which they are now
dead, instead of being dead to the world by
it, may be made partakers of the resurrection
that is in Christ Jesus, unto newness of life.
For they that are truly in Christ, that is, re-
deemed by and interested in him, are new
creatures. They have received a new will,
such as does the will of God, not their own.
They pray in truth, and do not mock God
when they say, " thy will be done in earth as
it is in heaven." They have new affections,
such as are set on things above, and make
Christ their eternal treasure: new faith, such
as overcomes the snares and temptations of
the woi'ld's spirit in themselves, or as it ap-
pears through others : and lastly, new works,
not of superstitious contrivance, or of human
invention, but the pure fruits of the spirit of
Christ working in them, as love, joy, peace,
meekness, long-suffering, temperance, bro-
therly kindness, faith, patience, gentleness and
goodness, against which there is no law.
They that have not this spirit of Christ, and
walk not in it, the apostle Paul has told us,
are none of his ; but the wrath of God, and
condemnation of the law, will lie upon them.
If "there is no condemnation to them that are
in Christ, who walk not after the flesh, but
after the spirit," which is Paul's doctrine ;
they that walk not accoi'ding to that Holy
Spirit, by his doctrine, are not in Christ :
that is, have no interest in him, nor just
claim to salvation by him ; and consequently
there is condemnation to such.

9. The truth is, the religion of the wicked,



peace," saith the pro-
Indeed there can be

is a lie : " There is no
phet, " to the wicked."

none, for they are reproved in their own con-
sciences, and condemned in their own hearts,
in all their disobedience. Go where they will,
rebukes go with them, and oftentimes terrors
too : It is an offended God who pricks them,
and by his light, sets their sins in order before
them. Sometimes they strive to appease him
by their outside devotion and worship, but in
vain ; for the true worshipping of God is
doing his will, which they transgress. The
rest is a false compliment, like him that said
he would go, and did not. Sometimes they
fly to sports and company to drown the re-
prover's voice, and blunt his arrows, to chase
away troubled thoughts, and secure themselves
out of the reach of the disquieter of their
pleasures : But the Almighty, first or last, is
sure to overtake them. There is no flying
from his final justice, for those who reject the
terms of his mercy. Impenitent rebels to his
law may then call to the mountains, and run
to the caves of the earth for protection, but in
vain. His all-searching eye will peneti-ate
their thickest coverings, and strike up a light
in that obscurity, which shall terrify their
guilty souls ; and which they shall never be
able to extinguish. Indeed their accuser is
with them, they can no more be rid of him,
than of themselves ; he is in the midst of
them, and will stick close to them. That
spirit which bears witness with the spirits of
the just, will bear witness against theirs.
Nay, their own hearts will abundantly come
in against them ; and " if our heart condemn
us," says the apostle John, " God is greater,
and knows all things :" that is, there is no
escaping the judgments of God, whose power
is infinile, if a man is not able to escape the
condemnation of himself.

At that day, proud and luxurious Christians
shall learn, that God is no respecter of per-
sons ; that all sects and names shall be swal-
lowed up in these two kinds, sheep and goats,
just and unjust: The very righteous must
"have a trial for it. Which made a holy man
cry out, " If the righteous scarcely be saved,
where shall the ungodly and the sinner ap-
pear?" If their thoughts, words and works
must stand the test, and come under scrutiny
before the impartial Judge of heaven and
earth; how then should the ungodly be ex-
empted ? No, we are told by him that cannot
lie, many shall then cry. Lord, Lord; set
forth their profession, and recount the works
they have done in his name, to make him pro-
pitious, and yet be rejected with this direful
sentence ; " Depart from me, ye workers of
iniquity, I know you not." As if he had said.
Get you gone, you evil-doers; though you

have pi'ofessed me, I will not know you : your
vain and evil lives have made you unfit for
my holy kingdom. Get you hence, and go to
the gods whom you have served ; your be-
loved lusts, which you have worshipped, and

Online LibraryWilliam EvansThe Friends' library : comprising journals, doctrinal treatises, and other writings of members of the religious Society of Friends (Volume 1) → online text (page 43 of 105)