Cherry Street Meeting, Philadelphia, November 6, 1849
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64 Cherry Street Meeting, 1849 strength and perseverance in accordance with right; preaching and doing that which is right by a blessed example, by a pure life, for this is the most effectual preaching of righteousness. Stenographic Report, Sermons, Mott Manuscripts, FHL 1. Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–82), “Domestic Life” (1840). 2. Most likely the five-volume Sermons (1777–1800) by Hugh Blair (1718–1801), a Scottish Presbyterian minister. Cherry Street Meeting, Philadelphia, November 6, 1849 Rachel in her sermon stated that if we kept our eyes singly directed to the light we should not be concerned about the existing evils in society.1 I view these Quarterly Meetings as no ordinary occasions. They are opportunities for us to compare ourselves and our progress with our predecessors, with our fathers, and with the great principles upon which they were established, and which we also profess to act upon. They are occasions when we may confer together and seek to provoke one another to love and good works, when we may endeavour to stir up the pure mind one in another by way of remembrance. I have believed that if this Society continues with any degree of prosperity, if it be marked as any living thing, as having any life in it, it must be by the evidence furnished in these examinations of ourselves, in our Quarterly and other meetings, and other opportunities . If we have any evidence furnished of its progress, it is by our progress and advancement in the truth. There is in all religious associations a constant tendency to retrogression. Having begun in the spirit there is a disposition too manifest to seek to be made perfect by the flesh, to go back again to the weak and beggarly elements and to desire, and be willing, to be brought into bondage again. The only way in which we can be preserved from this downward step, from this backsliding, is that we go forward, that we advance, that we follow the light, not that we sit down in listless indolence. The great heresy that is proclaimed in our Society, sometimes is of waiting in a kind of indifference for the light to come to us. This has been one of the most fatal heresies, the most fatal, to the progress of this religious body, of any that has ever been proclaimed. That we may be serving him, whoever seeketh fruits at the hands of his children, by doing nothing, by as has been expressed, waiting and failing to enter into the great harvest field, the great vineyard of the Lord with the paltry plea that no man hath hired us, that we have not been called to this or that work. In every principle, in every testimony that the fathers of this people held, there is progress, there is advancement, and in none more than in the great fundamental one of the guidance of the divine light to the souls of the children of men; that in obedience to this, as our fathers were led out of the traditions that specially marked their age, they had to bear their emphatic and loud testimony against the great theological errors that were existing among the people, preventing their progress, as well as against the great Cherry Street Meeting, 1849 65 practical sins of their day. They were going actively against these, having their hearts in the work, being troubled because of these great evils that were afflicting society. Many went forth endeavouring to enlighten the people, being concerned to strengthen their brethren, and we if we continue to make progress and advance and become established, strengthened, and settled on this immutable foundation of God, this inspeaking word in the soul, will manifest it by our works. There is no more certain law of God of his providence, no more certain evidence of the invariable nature of his law, than the stamp that he has set upon a people, upon religious society as well as upon nations, and individuals, showing just what they are by their fruits. If this Society through the means of its Quarterly and other meetings wherein to take cognizance of the state of its progress, shall not give evidence of progress of advancement, as the light is increasingly opened unto us, surely then in the eternal providence of God, Ichabod will be written upon thy walls, the glory will be departed from thee. And vain will it be for us to cling to the outward habiliments of sect...