Quaker Heritage Press > Online Texts > Works of Isaac Penington > Isaac Penington to Joseph Wright
I ENTREAT thy son to acquaint my brother Arthur, that I took very kindly, and was very glad of, his affectionate expressions towards me; having been somewhat jealous, that though my religion had enlarged my love towards him, yet his religion might have diminished his to me. I bless the Lord on his behalf that he enjoys his health so well; and for myself, though I have been exceedingly weakly formerly, yet the inward life and comfort, which the Lord daily pleaseth to administer to me, increaseth the health and strength of my natural man, beyond my expectation; blessed be my tender and merciful Father, who hath visited one so distressed, miserable, and helpless as I was, for so <40> many years!
And whereas he saith, he is like me in speech, but most unlike me in opinion; I pray tell him from me, that my religion doth not lie in opinion, but in that which puts an end to opinion. I was weary and sick at heart of opinions; and had not the Lord brought that to my hand which my soul wanted, I had never meddled with religion more. But as I felt that in my heart which was evil and not of God, so the Lord God of my life pointed me to that of him in my heart which was of another nature, teaching me to wait for and know his appearance there; in subjection whereto, I experience him stronger than the strong man that was there before; and by his power, he hath separated me from that within, which separated me from him before; and thus being separated, truly I feel union with him, and his blessed presence every day; which, what it is unto me, my tongue cannot utter.
I could be glad, if the Lord saw good, that I might see my brother before I die; and if I did see him, I should not be quarrelling with him about his religion, but embrace him in brotherly love, and in the fear of the Lord. As for his being a Papist, or an arch-Papist, that doth not damp my tender affection to him. If he be a Papist, I had rather have him a serious than a loose Papist. If he hath met with any thing of that which brings forth a holy conversation in him, he hath so far met with somewhat of my religion, which teacheth to order the conversation aright, in the light, and by the spirit and power of the Lord Jesus. My religion is not a new thing, though newly revealed more fully than in many foregoing ages; but consists in that which was long before Popery was, and will be when Popery shall be no more. And he that would rightly know the true church, must know the living stones whereof the true church is built, against which the gates of hell cannot possibly prevail. Oh, the daily joy of my heart, in feeling my living membership in this church! where the true "gold," the "white raiment," the pure "eye-salve" (with which the eye, being anointed, sees aright), are received and enjoyed inwardly, by such as the world knows not, but despiseth: blessed be the name of the Lord!
I desire my sincere, entire affection, as in God's sight, may be remembered to my dear brother.