Historical texts  >  Early Quaker Sermons  >  Francis Stamper (1694)

A Sermon

Preached by

Mr. Francis Stamper,

Devonshire-House, May the 3rd, 1694.

God has laid help upon One that is mighty, to save to the uttermost all that come to God by Him.

This mighty One, that the almighty Lord God has laid help upon for man, is the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of His love; and they are blessed of God, that come to partake of the help that is in Him, who said to His Disciples and Followers in the days past, Without Me ye can do nothing.

Friends, this is a deep and a very near word and it behoves us all to consider, whether we have Him or no; for we all owe a service, a duty, and a worship to the everlasting God, and of ourselves we cannot perform it, without the help and assistance of His beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, and the comfort of all that believe in Him, and love Him, is this, that He is not only able to help, but willing to help.

Blessed be the Lord God forever, may all you say, that have been made partakers of His virtue, and of His power and life; that have found a willingness in Him to assist you in all your troubles, in all your exercises, in all your afflictions, in all the bowings of your souls and spirits before the Lord; who have said in your prayers and supplications, Lord, lend me Thy help, let me have Thy gracious aid and assistance: Without this help of the Lord Jesus Christ we cannot do that good that sometimes we desire, but we are even like to poor Israel, when they had forgotten the Lord, when they had been cleaving to that, that led them in the steps, the end whereof was destruction. The Lord thus complains by His Prophet; O Israel! Thou hast destroyed thyself, but thy help is in Me.

And, O Friends! What greater love could the Lord God have shown to the lost sons of Adam, than to have sent His Son, His only begotten Son, from the bosom of His heavenly love, to redeem man up to God again, to restore man again, and bring him back again out of that alienated state, and out of that undone condition, that he was fallen into by his disobedience and transgression against the Lord: God has laid help upon One that is mighty, mighty to save.

Is there any poor soul here this day, that wants the salvation of God, that wants to be saved from sin, that so you may be saved from hell, saved from woe, saved from distress, saved from misery, O! come and lay hold on Him by faith, that God has laid help upon.

My Friends, turn your minds inward this day, have an eye and a regard in yourselves, to that pure and divine manifestation of His light and grace and Spirit vouchsafed to you; in that light look unto Him. Holy men and women, godly men and godly women, waited for this in the days of old, and one of them expressed his joy and satisfaction, even old Simeon, when he saw the Lord Jesus Christ brought into the temple, he took him up in his arms and blessed God, and said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace according to thy word, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou has prepared before the face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel, that he might be for salvation to the ends of the earth. Now here Simeon beheld and saw that which he long waited for and desired after, and he had this manifested to him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ; he saw Him and beheld Him that he might see He was come.

So some souls at this day that are now under another dispensation, have waited long, and cried to the Lord, and said, Lord, when will the time come? When will the day come, that You will open to me that which my soul has longed for? Lord, I have sinned against You, when will the time come, that I shall have help and power against sin, and find strength against sin, and receive power from on high against my sins, and to resist and overcome temptations, and obtain your favor, and, through Jesus Christ, be reconciled to You whom I have offended?

Friends, you that have long waited for the consolation of God's Israel, hold fast your hope, keep your confidence to the end, keep your faith and patience. Remember the words of Christ to the Church of Philadelphia, These things saith he that is holy and true, thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name; because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I will also keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.

My Friends, the hour of tribulation is coming apace and hastening, it is even at the very door; therefore lay hold of Christ, that God has laid help upon: O my Friends! That you may find this help extended to you in this day of your trial and temptation, that they that are hindmost of the Flock may come up, the poor in Spirit, that are poor in body too, they that are groaning, and crying, and mourning in solitary places, that they may come, according to the words of Christ, into His Sheepfold, John 10:16. And other sheep I have which are not of this Fold, them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice, and there shall be one Fold, and one Shepherd.

This one Shepherd is present here, my Friends, pray hear His voice this afternoon; His voice is sweet and lovely, and pierces the very heart, it calls upon you, Open to me my well-beloved; it calls you out of sin, and out of iniquity, and out of that which offends the Lord. O Friends! This voice calls, Open to me My beloved, you that are turned from this world, from the love of vanities and pleasures, from those vain delights that perish with the using, and the desire of your hearts is, that you may be more acquainted with Him that is the good Shepherd of your souls, that says, I call mine own sheep by name: Blessed be you that have this new name; I go before them, and they follow me, and I will give to them eternal life, says Christ. What greater gift can you have? What better reward can you have? You that have the help of the Lord, you that have the strength of the Almighty, you that have your dependence upon Him, you that can truly say, the Lord has laid help upon One that is mighty, I feel His mighty Arm, and His mighty power that has helped me, and overcome great things, that I thought I could never overcome. Open the door of thy heart, says Christ, and I will overcome that by which thou hast been overcome: All praise, glory, and thanksgiving be returned, through Christ, to the living God and Father of all.

O my Friends! Feel your minds gathered into a sense of God's love, into a pure exercise of His heavenly life and love, that in this we may go on and travel together; that in this you may be exercised together, for the glory of God, and the good and peace and welfare of one another.

Friends, God's care is over His people, His divine providence is daily extended towards them, in a plentiful and wonderful manner. There is one promise of the Lord that comes into the view of my mind, even that promise made to them in ancient times, My people shall dwell in a sure dwelling, and shall rest in a quiet habitation. Let us pray that every one of us may be in the number of God's people that have a sure dwelling; for, my Friends, great disappointments, great exercises, and trouble will overtake the habitations of the wicked, that are hard-hearted and forgetters of God. Let us keep humble and tender and reverent in the sight of the God of heaven; all our strength will fail us, and all our own wisdom, if we do not keep faithful to Him that God has laid help upon. What are we poor worms in comparison of the Almighty? He can do in heaven and earth whatsoever He pleases; Man is to be wrought upon according to His divine will and pleasure: We are to submit to Him, and to be resigned and given up to the Lord God of heaven and earth, and to lie low before Him, and to come to that in practice, which people have been speaking of in words.

It is part of that prayer that our blessed Lord taught His Followers and Disciples, wherein He said, Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven; there is no man or woman that can really come to Christ, but those that have their wills submitted to the will of God, this is the will of God, your sanctification; it is the will of God that you all should be sanctified, that we should be holy and pure; then the blessing of the God of heaven will be upon us.

Among the many blessings that Christ uttered on the mountain, one was this, Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God; it does bespeak this, that the sight of God shall be very clear, to those that are pure in heart, that come to have their hearts and minds subjected to the will of God, for he worketh in them both to will and to do according to his good pleasure. O! then shall they know the virtue of this purity of heart; they shall see God. How precious a thing is it, to have that purity that can behold the Lord, no confession or acknowledgment will be sufficient.

Thus it was when Nicodemus, a Pharisee and a Ruler of the Jews, came to Jesus by night, he said to Him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a Teacher come from God, for no man can do these miracles that thou dost, except God be with him. Here was a large confession, that Christ was a Teacher of the Way of God aright; yet that would not serve, for Jesus answered and said unto him, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

Friends, it is a near word that should come home to us, and convince us of this truth of God, that we fall not short of this regeneration, and of having our hearts and spirits renewed by the God of heaven; except we be born again we cannot see the kingdom of God. This new birth is that by which the blessings of the God of heaven are conveyed to the soul, and that through the Lord Jesus Christ; God hath sent his Son to bless us, in turning every one of us from our iniquities, and from the evil of our ways, rom our sin and vanity, from our corruption and wickedness, to the pure everlasting God. They know it to be thus that come to fear God, and be partakers of that wisdom that leads to righteousness, Proverbs 8: 20, 21. I lead in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of judgment, that I may cause those that love me to inherit substance, and I will fill their treasures: Can the treasure of any heart be better filled?

O! that these words of Wisdom might take impression upon every one of your hearts, that you might feel the love of the mighty God shed abroad upon your hearts by the holy Ghost, that your desires and breathings may ascend like incense, and be a sweet smelling sacrifice to the Lord this evening. O! that every one was so qualified as to worship the living God aright, that in the conclusion of this meeting, every one's heart may burn within them, and may come, with tender breathings and inflamed affections, upon God's altar, and find acceptance.

My Friends, the goodness of the Lord has been very great towards you, and His long-suffering and patience has been largely extended, He wills not the death of a sinner, but desires that they should repent, return, and live: As I live, saith the Lord, I delight not in the death of a sinner; turn you, turn you, from your evil ways, why will ye die, O house of Israel? Now if you say, I would fain turn from the evil of my ways, I would fain have power and strength to do good and overcome evil; then come to Him that is mighty, upon whom God has laid help, who is able to save to the uttermost all that come to God by Him; not from one or two sins only, but from all pollution and wickedness, in all those that come to God by Him; I am God Almighty, says God to Abraham a faithful Servant that followed Him, I am the Almighty God, walk before me, and be thou perfect.

But, say some, that is impossible; but pray consider, God has laid help upon one that is mighty; and you may do all things through Christ that strengthens you; by His divine power working in your heart, He can effect that work in you which you cannot do in your own strength, that work which He will accept of, the work of righteousness, holiness, and purity, in which state the blessing of the God of heaven is conveyed to your soul; blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God,their eyes being opened to look to Him in whom salvation is: In vain do men look for salvation from the hills and from the mountains; Look unto me, says the Lord, and be saved, all ye ends of the earth. For I am the Lord, I change not, therefore the sons of Jacob are not consumed; Malachi 3:6.

O! here is a good encouragement for you who are wrestling with the Lord God, to receive a blessing from His divine hand, here is a good encouragement for you to wrestle; Jacob was a wrestler, and he wrestled with God, and as a Prince he prevailed, and he said, I will not let thee go except thou bless me. Will you be wrestlers with the God of heaven, for a blessing from His divine hand? Labor to be gathered with a pure mind into the will of God, as humble, lowly, and meek creatures, submitting yourselves to Him, being sensible of your unworthiness, and say, Lord, what am I that You should be mindful of me? What I have received You gave me, I have no breath, no good thing but what You gave me, I depend on You for all, and will give You the praise of all that I have and hope for.

Thus you must labor to keep yourselves humble, meek, and tender, and in a self-denying frame, that you may be fit to follow the Lord Jesus, who invites such to come to Him; Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light; learn of Me, says Christ, for I am meek and lowly. It is as if He had said, Be ye so too, learn that lesson and ye shall find rest to your souls; What more excellent reward than to have peace with the eternal God! And not only so, but in all our trials, afflictions, and exercises in this life, to be kept in a quiet and peaceable frame, where the soul can throw itself upon God, and say, Lord, I will cast all my care upon You, for You care for me.

My Friends, look to the Lord, there will be great need for it; many have been the warnings given to the inhabitants of this Nation, and of this City, of the dreadful judgments of God, that He will certainly bring upon the wicked and hard-hearted, and upon the stiff-necked and rebellious; and I hope that, through the divine workings of the Spirit and Power of the Lord Jesus Christ, and through His divine and heavenly light that has attended these warnings and testimonies, many will be stirred up to repentance.

And I have this more to say, that the Lord God in the opening of His divine Word has commanded me; Thus say to My People in the City of London and elsewhere, where I have ordered your lot; be of believing hearts, for the vials of My wrath shall be poured out upon all the transgressors; therefore charge the Daughters of Sion, that they touch not with the Daughters of Babylon; and tell them, That if they partake with them in their sins, they shall partake with them in their plagues, and in the punishments that God will pure down and execute upon the workers of iniquity; and greater will be their condemnation if they do not repent and believe, than those that have not had such opportunities.

Therefore, Children of Sion, look to the Lord Jesus Christ, that mighty One, upon whom help is laid, in whom is divine strength and power, and from whom you may have divine assurance, that you may perform the good that is required at your hands, that is incumbent upon you, and that you owe to your Creator, that you may worship Him from day to day, and from one time to another; they that perform this service in the strength of Christ will feel the savor of His life upon them, and find the sweetness of joy and peace in their souls: And when we are in our employments, and callings, and business, we shall feel the savor of divine life going along with us, and in all our converse and communion one with another and in our Families, we shall instruct, and correct, and direct our children, and bring them up in the fear of the Lord, that they may not do as the Children of Israel when some of their Judges were dead, everyone did that which was right in their own eyes: Let them do what they will, says Joshua, choose you this day whom you will serve, as for me and my house we will serve the Lord.

O! get your wills subjected to the will of God, that you may obey His righteous law, and feel yourselves engaged in His service, and have the powerful working of His holy Spirit in your souls. God will by His own almighty Arm and heavenly Grace, enable you to do what He requires, and is pleasing in His sight, he will work in you both to will and to do of his own good pleasure; by grace ye are saved, says the Apostle, not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; To this divine gift we are all recommended: Now the Lord God Almighty gather you all into a sense of it.

The Apostle, when he wrote to the Churches, committed them to the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, for guiding and governing them in the whole course of their conversations, that they might live in the pure fear and love of God, and obedience to Him, and in love and concord one with another; that God in all things may be glorified, and praise, and honor, and thanksgiving may be offered up to him, through Jesus Christ his beloved Son, and our alone Savior, who alone is worthy, who is God over all, blessed for ever and ever. Amen.