The Independence Bell

J.R. Waller, MBA

This post is taken from Seven Years’ Street Preaching in San Francisco by William Taylor (1821-1902) and published by The Greater Heritage.

Note, this post remains true to the original format and content of its original 1856 printed version, however we have added footnotes to help readers learn about certain words and/or passages.

The Independence Bell by William Taylor

IN the afternoon of Sunday, April 27, 1851, I had a large audience on the Plaza, to whom I said: “My text is recorded on the old Independence Bell, in the State House in Philadelphia, and reads as follows: ‘Proclaim liberty throughout all the land, to all the inhabitants thereof. Lev. 25:10. By order of the Assembly of the Province of Pennsylvania, for the State House in Philadelphia. Pass & Stow. Philadelphia A. D. 1753.’ Young America, just beginning to scribble, thus wrote his name on that old bell, twenty-three years before the tocsin of war called him forth to try his manly muscles in mortal combat with a giant foe.

“Proclaim liberty throughout all the land…”

“On the evening of the great atonement of the Jews, the Jubilee year, that proclamation, sounding from every hill-top in Palestine, and echoing through every vale from Dan to Beersheba, thrilled with gladness the hearts of millions of Abraham’s sons and daughters. It was under the inspiration of the Bible doctrine contained in this text, that John Hancock and his compatriots were enabled, with a steady hand, and a determination of purpose stronger than death, to sign that immortal document, the ‘Declaration of Independence.’ This was the theme that clothed our fathers with that unconquerable courage and zeal, which carried them through a seven years’ struggle on fields of carnage and blood, till throughout the united colonies, from Maine to South Carolina, the jubilee trump sounded.

“Behold, to-day, the results of an appropriate, practical application of Bible truth, even politically and civilly considered! But the institution of the Jubilee typifies a spiritual Jubilee, which, in its provisions and results, transcends all earthly good and earthly glory, as much as the duration and developments of eternity transcend the duration and developments of time. Our divine Joshua proclaims: ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the Gospel to the poor. He hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind: to set at liberty them that are bruised. To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.’ And he hath sent forth his heralds, charging them to ‘Go into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature.’ This is the character in which I appear before you to-day.

“‘Sent by my Lord, on you I call;

The invitation is to all:

Come all the world! Come, sinner, thou!

All things in Christ are ready now.

“‘Come, all ye souls by sin oppress’d,

Ye restless wand’rers after rest;

Ye poor, and maim’d, and halt, and blind,

In Christ a hearty welcome find.’”[1]



[1] From the hymn Come, Sinners, to the Gospel Feast (1747) by Charles Wesley (1707-88).

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