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William Evans.

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

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the evil world that you have so much coveted
and adored : let them save you now, if they
can, from the wrath to come upon you,
which is the wages of the deeds you have
done.

Here is the end of their work who build
upon the sand ; the breath of the Judge will
blow it down ; and woful will the fall thereof
be. Oh it is now, that the righteous have the
better of the wicked ! which made an apostate
cry in old time, " Let me die the death of the
lighteous, and let my last end be like unto
his." To them the sentence is changed, and
the Judge smiles : he casts the eye of love
upon his own sheep, and invites them with a
" Come, ye blessed of my Father," who
through patient continuance in well doing,
have long waited for immortality : ye have
been the true companions of my tribulations
and cross, and with unwearied faithfulness,
in obedience to my holy will, have valiantly
endui'ed to the end, looking to me, the author
of your precious faith, for the recompense of
reward, which I have promised to them that
love me, and faint not. " O enter ye into the
joy of your Lord, and inherit the kingdom
prepared for you from the foundation of the
world."

10. O Christendom! my soul most fervently
prays, that afl,er all thy lofty professions of
Christ, and his meek and holy religion, thy
unsuitable and unchrist-like life may not cast
thee at that great assize of the woi'ld, and
lose thee this great salvation at last. Hear
me once, I beseech thee : Can Christ be thy
Lord, and thou not obey him? Or, canst thou
be his servent, and never serve him ? Be not
deceived, such as thou sowest, shalt thou reap:
He is none of thy Saviour, whilst thou re-
jectest his grace in thy heart, by which he
would save thee. Come, what has he saved
thee from? Has he saved thee from thy sinful
lusts, thy worldly affections and vain conver-
sations ? If not, then he is none of thy Sa-
viour. For though he be ofl^ered a Saviour to
all, yet he is actually a Saviour to those only,
who are saved by him ; and none are saved
by him who five in those evils, by which they
are lost from God, and which he came to save
them from.

It is from sin that Christ is come to save
man, and from death and wrath, as the wages
of it. But those who are not saved, that is,
delivered by the power of Christ in their
souls, from the power that sin has had over
them, can never be saved from the death and



NO CROSS, NO CROWN.



199



wrath, which are the certain wages of the sin
they live in.

So far as people obtain victory over those
evil dispositions and fleshly lusts to which
they have been addicted, so far they are truly
saved, and are witnesses of the redemption
that comes by Jesus Christ. His name shows
his work ; " And thou shalt call his name
Jesus, for he shall save his people from their
sins." " Behold," said John of Christ, " the
Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the
world!" That is, behold him, whom God hath
given to enlighten people, and for salvation to
as many as receive him, and his light and
grace in their hearts, and take up their daily
cross, and follow him : such as would rather
deny themselves the pleasure of fulfilling their
lusts, than sin against the knowledge he has
given them of his will ; or do that which they
know they ought not to do.



CHAPTER II.

1. By this Christendom may see her lapse, how
foul it is ; and next, the worse for her pretence
of Christianity. 2. But there is mercy with
God upon repentance, and propitiation in the
blood of Jesus. 3. He is the light of the world
that reproves the darkness, that is, the evil of
the world; and he is to be known within.
4. Christendom, like the inn of old, is full of
other guests: she is advised to believe in, re-
ceive and apply to Christ. 5. Of the nature of
true faith ; it brings power to overcome every
appearance of evil. This leads to consider the
cross of Christ, which has been so much wanted.

6. The apostolic ministry, and end of it ; its
blessed effect ; the character of apostolic times.

7. The glory of the cross ; and its triumph over
the heathen world. A measure to Christendom,
what she is not, and should be. 8. Her declen-
sion and cause of it. 9. The miserable eftects
that followed. 10. From the consideration of
the cause, the cure may be more easily known,
viz. : Not faithfully taking up the daily cross ;
then faithfully taking it daily up, must be the
remedy.

1. By all which has been said, O Christen-
dom ! and by that better help, if thou wouldst
use it, the lamp the Lord has lighted in thee,
which is not utterly extinct, it may evidently
appear, first, how great thy backsliding has
been, who from the temple of the Lord, art
become a cage of unclean birds ; and instead
of an house of prayer, a den of thieves, a
synagogue of satan, and the receptacle of
every defiled spirit. Next, that under all this
manifest defection, thou hast nevertheless val-



ued thy corrupt self upon thy profession of
Christianity, and fearfully deluded thyself with
the hopes of salvation. The first makes thy
disease dangerous, but the last almost incu-
rable.

2. Yet because there is mercy with the
God of compassion, that he may be feared,
and that he takes no delight in the eternal
death of poor sinners, no, though backsUders
themselves, but is willing all should come to
the knowledge and obedience of the truth ;
and be saved : he has sent forth his Son a
propitiation, and given him a Saviour to take
away the sins of the whole world, that those
who believe and follow him, may feel the
righteousness of God in the remission of their
sins, and the blotting out of their transgres-
sions for ever. Behold the remedy ! an infal-
lible cure, one of God's appointing; a precious
elixir indeed that never failed ; and that uni-
versal medicine, which no malady could ever
escape.

3. But thou wilt say, what is Christ, where
is he to be found, and how received, and ap-
plied, in order to this mighty cure? I will tell
thee then : first, he is the great spiritual Light
of the world, who enlightens every one that
comes into the world ; by which he manifests
to them their deeds of darkness and wicked-
ness, and reproves them for committing them.
Secondly, he is not far away from thee, as
the apostle Paul said of God to the Athenians.
Christ himself, says, " Behold I stand at the
door and knock ; if any man hear my voice,
and open the door, I will come in to him,
and sup with him, and he with me." What
door can this be, but that of the heart of
man ?

4. Like the inn of old, thou hast been full
of other guests : thy affections have enter-
tained other lovers : there has been no room
for thy Saviour in thy soul. Wherefore sal-
vation is not yet come into thy house, though
it is come to thy door, and thou hast often
been proffered it, and hast profest it long. But
if he calls, if he knocks still, that is, if his light
yet shines, if it reproves thee still, there is hope
that thy day is not over, and that repentance
is not hid from thine eyes ; but his love is to-
ward thee still, and his holy invitation con-
tinues, to save thee.

Wherefore, O Christendom ! Believe, receive,
and apply him rightly; this is of absolute ne-
cessity, that thy soul may live for ever with
him. He told the Jews, " If you believe not
that I am he, ye shall die in your sins ; and
whither I go, yc cannot come." Because they
believed him not, they did not receive him,
nor any benefit by him. But they that be-
lieved him, received him : " and as many as
received him," his own beloved disciple tells



200



NO CROSS, NO CROWN.



us, to them gave he power to become the sons
of God ; which are boi'n not of blood, nor
of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of
man, but of God." That is, they are not
children of God after the fashions, prescrip-
tions and traditions of men, who call them-
selves his church and people, which is not
after the will of tlesh and blood, and the
invention of carnal man, unacquainted with
the regeneration and power of the Holy
Ghost, but of God ; according to his will,
and the working and sanctification of his
spirit and word of life in them. Such were
ever well versed in the right application of
Christ, for he is made to them indeed pro-
pitiation, reconciliation, salvation, righteous-
ness, redemption and justification.

So I say to thee, unless thou believest,
that he who stands at the door of thy heart
and knocks, and sets thy sins in order before
thee, and calls thee to repentance, be the
Saviour of the world, thou wilt die in thy
sins, and where he is gone, thou wilt never
come. For if thou believest not in him, it is
impossible that he should do thee good, or
effect thy salvation. Christ works not against
faith, but by it. It is said of old, he did
not many mighty works in some places, be-
cause the people believed not in him. If thou
truly believest in him, thine ear will be
attentive to his voice in thee, and the door
of thine heart open to his knocks. Thou
wilt yield to the discoveries of his light, and
the teachings of his grace will be very dear
to thee.

5. It is the nature of true faith to beget an
holy fear of offending God, a deep reverence
for his precepts, and a most tender regard to
the inward testimony of his spirit, as that, by
which his children, in all ages, have been
safely led to glory. For as they that truly
believe, receive Christ in all his tenders to the
soul, so true it is, that those who receive him
thus, receive power to become the sons of
God : that is, an inward force and ability to
do whatever he requires : strength to mortify
their lusts, control their affections, resist evil
motions, deny themselves, and overcome the
world in its most enticing appearances. This
is the life of the blessed cross of Christ, which
is the subject of the following discourse, and
what thou, O man, must take up, if thou in-
tendest to be the disciple of Jesus. Nor canst
thou be said to receive Christ, or believe in
him, whilst thou rejectest his cross. For as
receiving Christ is the means appointed of
God to salvation, so bearing thy daily ci'oss
after him is the only true testimony of re-
ceiving him ; and therefore it is enjoined
by him, as the great token of discipleship,
" If any man will come after me, let him de-



ny himself, and take up his cross, and follow
me."

This, Christendom, is what thou hast so
much wanted, and the want of it has proved
the cause of thy miserable declension from
pure Christianity. To consider this well, as
it is thy duty, so it is of great use to thy re-
storation.

As the knowledge of the cause of any dis-
temper guides the physician to make a right
and safe judgment in the application of his
medicine, so it will inuch enlighten thee in the
way of thy recovery, to know and weigh the
first cause of this spiritual lapse and malady
that has befallen thee. To do which, a gene-
ral view of thy primitive estate, and conse-
quently of their work that first laboured in the
Christian vineyard, will be needful ,* and if
therein something be repeated, the weight and
dignity of the subject will bear it without the
need of an apology.

6. The work of apostleship, we are told by
a prime labourer in it, was, to turn people
from darkness to light, and from the power of
satan unto God. That is, instead of yielding
to the temptations and motions of satan, who
is the prince of darkness, (or wickedness, the
one being a metaphor to the other) by whose
power their understandings were obscured,
and their souls held in the service of sin, they
should turn their minds to the appearance of
Christ, the light and Saviour of the world ;
who by his light shines in their souls, and
thereby gives them a sight of their sins, and
discovers every temptation and motion in them
unto evil, and reproves them when they give
way thereunto ; that so they might become
the children of light, and walk in the path of
righteousness. For this blessed work of re-
formation, Christ endued his apostles with his
spirit and power, that so men might no longer
sleep in a security of sin, and ignorance of
God ; but awaken to righteousness, that the
Lord Jesus might give them life. That they
might leave off sinning, deny themselves the
pleasure of wickedness, and by true repent-
ance turn their hearts to God in well-doing, , in
which is peace. And truly, God so blessed
the faithful labours of these poor mechanics,
his great ambassadors to mankind, that, in a
few years, many thousands who had lived
without God in the world, without a sense or
fear of him, lawlessly, very strangers to the
work of his spirit in their hearts, being capti-
vated by fleshly lusts, were inwardly struck
and quickened, by the word of life, and made
sensible of the coming and power of the Lord
Jesus Christ, as a Judge and Lawgiver in their
souls. By his holy light and spirit, the hidden
things of darkness were brought to light and
condemned, and pure repentance from those



NO CROSS, NO CROWN.



201



dead works begotten in them, that they might
serve the living God in newness of spirit.
Thenceforward they hved not to themselves,
neither were they carried away of those for-
mer lusts, by which they had been seduced
from the true fear of God ; but the law of the
spirit of life, by which they overcame the law
of sin and death, was their delight ; and there-
in they meditated day and night. Their regard
towards God, was not derived from the pre-
cepts of men any longer, but from the know-
ledge they had received by his own work and
impressions in their souls. They had quitted
their old masters, the world, the flesh and the
devil, and delivered up themselves to the holy
guidance of the grace of Christ, which taught
them to deny ungodliness and the world's
lusts, and to live soberly, righteously and god-
ly, in this present life. This is the cross of
Christ indeed : and here is the victory it gives
to them that take it up : by this cross they
died daily to the old life they had lived ; and
by holy watchfulness against the secret mo-
tions of evil in their hearts, they crushed sin
in its conception, yea, in its temptations. So
that, as the apostle John advises, they kept
themselves, that the evil one touched them not.

The light, which satan cannot endure, and
with which Christ enlightened them, discover-
ed him in all his approaches and assaults upon
the mind ; and the power they received through
their obedience to the manifestations of that
blessed light, enabled them to resist and van-
quish him in all his stratagems. Thus it was,
that where once nothing was examined, nothing
went unexamined. Every thought must come
to judgment, and the rise and tendency of it
be well approved, before they allowed it any
room in their minds. There was no fear of
entertaining enemies for friends, whilst this
strict guard was kept upon the very wicket of
the soul. The old heavens and earth, that is,
the old earthly conversation, and old carnal
or shadowy worship passed away apace, and
every day all things became new. " He was
no more a Jew, who was one outwardly, nor
that circumcision, that was in the flesh ; but
he was the Jew, who was one inwardly ; and
that circumcision, which was of the heart, in
the spirit and not in the letter, whose praise is
not of man, but of God."

7. The glory of the cross shined so con-
spicuously through the self-denial of their
lives who daily bore it, that it filled the hea-
then with astonishment, and in a small time
so shook their altars, discredited their oracles,
struck the multitude, invaded the court, and
overcame their armies, that it led priests, ma-
gistrates and generals, in triumph after it, as
trophies of its power and victory.

While this integrity dwelt with Christians,
Vol. I.вАФ No. 6.



mighty was the presence, and invincible the
power that attended them. It quenched fire,
daunted lions, turned the edge of the sword,
out-faced instruments of cruelty, convicted
judges, and converted executioners. In fine,
the ways their enemies took to destroy, in-
creased them ; and by the deep wisdom of
God, those were made great promoters of the
truth, who in all their designs endeavoured to
extinguish it. Now, not a vain thought, nor
an idle word, nor an unseemly action was per-
mitted ; no ; not an immodest look : no court-
ly dress, gay apparel, complimental respects,
or personal honours ; much less could those
lewd immoralities, and scandalous vices now
in vogue with Christians, find either example
or connivance among them. Their care was
not how to sport away their precious time, but
how to redeem it, that they might have enough
to work out their great salvation with fear and
trembling ; not with balls and masks, with
play-houses, dancing, feasting and gaming :
No, no : To make sure of their heavenly call-
ing and election, was much dearer to them,
than the poor and trifling joys of mortality.
Having, with Moses, seen him that is invisi-
ble, and found that his loving-kindness was
better than life, and the peace of his spirit
than the favour of princes ; as they feared not
Caesar's wrath, so they chose rather to sus-
tain the afflictions of Christ's true pilgrims,
than to enjoy the pleasures of sin, that were
but for a season ; esteeming his reproaches of
more value than the perishing treasures of the
earth. If the tribulations of Christianity were
more eligible than the comforts of the world,
and the reproaches of one, than all the honour
of the other ; there was then surely no tempta-
tion in it, that could shake the integrity of
Christendom.

8. By this short view of what Christendom
was, thou mayest see, O Christendom, what
thou art not, and what thou oughtest to be.
But how comes it, that from a Christendom
that was thus meek, merciful, self-denying,
suffering, temperate, holy, just and good, so
like to Christ, whose name she bore, we find
a Christendom now, that is superstitious, idol-
atrous, persecuting, proud, passionate, envious,
malicious, selfish, drunken, lascivious, unclean,
lying, swearing, cursing, covetous, oppressing,
defrauding; with all other abominations known
in the earth, and that to an excess justly scan-
dalous to the worst of heathen ages, surpass-
ing them more in evil tlian in time : I say,
how comes this lamentable defection?

I lay this down, as the undoubted reason of
this degeneracy, to wit, the disregard of thy
mind to the light of Christ shining in thee ;
that first showed thee thy sins, and reproved
them, and taught and enabled thee to deny
26



202



NO CROSS, NO CROWN.



and resist them. For as thy fear towards
God, and holy abstinence from unrighteous-
ness was not taught by the precepts of men,
but by that light and grace, which revealed
the most secret thoughts and purposes of thine
heart, and searched thy most inward parts,
setting thy sins in order before thee, and re-
proving thee for them, not suffering one un-
fruitful thought, word or work of darkness, to
go unjudged ; so when thou didst begin to dis-
regard that light and grace, to be careless
about that holy watch, that was once set up in
thine heart, and didst not keep centinel there
as formerly for God's glory, and thy own
peace ; the restless enemy of man's good
quickly took advantage of this slackness, and
often surprised thee with temptations, whose
suitableness to thy inclinations made his con-
quest over thee not difficult.

Thou didst omit to take up Christ's holy
yoke, and to bear thy daily cross. Thou wast
careless of thy affections, and kept no journal
or check upon thy actions ; but didst decline
to audit accounts in thy own conscience, with
Christ thy hght, the great Bishop of thy soul
and Judge of thy works, whereby the holy
fear decayed, and love waxed cold ; vanity
abounded, and duty became burdensome.
Then up came formality, instead of the power
of godliness; supei'stition, in place of Christ's
institution : and although Christ's business was,
to draw off" the minds of his disciples from an
outward temple, and carnal rites and services,
to the inward and spiritual worship of God,
suitable to the nature of divinity, a worldly,
human, pompous worship is brought in again,
and a worldly priesthood, temple and altar
re-established. Now the " sons of God once
more saw that the daughters of men were
fair," that is, the pure eye grew dim, which
repentance had opened, that saw no comeli-
ness out of Christ ; and the eye of lust be-
came unclosed again, by the god of the
world; and those worldly pleasures, that make
such as love them forget God, though once
despised for the sake of Christ, began now
to recover their old beauty and interest in
thy affections ; and from liking them, came
to be the study, care and pleasure of thy
life.

True, there still remained the exterior forms
of worship, and a nominal and oral reverence
to God and Christ ; but that was all ; for the
offence of the holy cross ceased, the power of
godliness was denied, self-denial lost ; and
though fruitful in the invention of ceremonious
ornaments, yet barren in the blessed fruits of
the spirit. And a thousand shells cannot make
one kernel, nor many dead corpses one living
man.

9. Thus religion fell from experience to



tradition, and worship from power to form,
from life to letter. Instead of putting up
lively and powerful requests, animated by the
deep sense of want, and the assistance of the
Holy Spirit, by which the ancients prayed,
wrestled and prevailed with God ; behold, a
by-rote repetition, a dull and insipid form-
ality, made up of bowings, and cringings,
garments and flirnitures, perfumes, voices and
music; fitter for the reception of some earthly
prince, than the heavenly worship of the only
true and immortal God, who is an eternal, in-
visible spirit.

Thy heart growing carnal, thy religion did
so too ; and not liking it as it was, thou fash-
ionedst it to thy liking ; forgetting what the
holy prophet said, "the sacrifice of the wicked
is an abomination to the Lord," and what
James saith, " Ye ask, and ye receive not,"
and why 1 " because ye ask amiss," that is,
with an heart that is not right, but insincere,
and unmortified, not in the faith that purifies
the soul, and therefore can never receive what
is asked : so that a man may say with truth,
thy condition is made worse by thy religion,
because thou art tempted to think thyself the
better for it, and ai't not.

10. By this prospect that is given thee of
thy fall from primitive Christianity, and the
true cause of it, to wit, a neglect of the daily
cross of Christ, it may be easy for thee to in-
form thyself of the way of thy recovery.

At the door by which thou wentest out, thou
must come in: and as letting fall, and forbear-
ing the daily cross lost thee; so taking up and
enduring the daily cross, must recover thee.
It is the way by which sinners and apostates
become the disciples of Jesus. " Whosoever,"
says Christ, "will come after me, and be my
disciple, let him deny himself, and take up his
daily cross, and follow me." Nothing short
of this will do. As it is sufficient, so is it in-
dispensable : no crown, but by the cross ; no
life eternal, but through death : and it is but
just, that those evil and barbarous affections,
that crucified Christ afresh, should by his holy
cross, be crucified. Blood requires blood ;
his cross is the death of sin, that caused his
death ; and he is the death of death, accord-
ing to that passage, O death ! I will be thy
death !



CHAPTER III.

1. What is the cross of Christ? A figurative
speech, but truly, the divine power, that morti-
fies the world. 2. It is so called by the apos-
tle Paul to the Corinthians. 3. Where is it the
cross appears, and must be borne 1 Within,
where the lusts are, there they must be cruci-



NO CROSS, NO CROWN.



203



fied. 4. Experience teaches every one this, to
be sure, Christ asserts it, from within comes
murder, &c. and that is the house where the
strong man must be bound. 5. How is the
cross to be borne 1 The way is spiritual, a de-
nial of self the pleasure of sin, to please God
and obey his will, as manifested to the soul by
the light he gives it. 6. This shows the diffi-
culty, yet the necessity of the cross.

The daily cross being then, and still, O
Christendom, the way to glory ; that the suc-
ceeding matter, which wholly relates to the
doctrine of it, may come with most evidence
and advantage upon thy conscience, it is seri-
ously to be considered by thee.

First, M^hat the cross of Christ is.

Secondly, Where the cross of Christ is to
be taken up.

Thirdly, How and after what manner, it is



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 44 of 105)