Quaker Heritage Press > Online Texts > Isaac Penington's Works > Isaac Penington to Friends
He that is weak and foolish among the lambs, continually ready to wander, both out of the pastures and from the fold, and thus to betray his life into the hands of the enemy; he who is continually scattering and squandering away what the Lord in mercy gathers for him, and freely bestows upon him; who, through drowsiness and carelessness, hath lost the benefit of, and forfeited the sweet and tender visitations of the Most High, and is now become dry, dead, barren, thick, earthy; O my God! let that soul feel the stirrings of the spring of life, and find some encouragements from thee, to hope in the free and large mercies of the Shepherd of Israel; who casteth not off his sheep because of their wanderings, because of their backslidings, because of their infirmities, because of their diseases, nay, not because of their hardness; but pursues them with his love, findeth them out, visiteth with his correcting hand according to their need, woundeth with his sword, and melteth in his fire, until he hath made them tender and pliable, and then he pours in the fresh oil of his salvation and sweetly healeth them.
O my friends and brethren in the pure life! be faithful to the Lord in returning him all the incomes of his Spirit; follow on in every drawing of his love, while any of the virtue of it lasts upon your spirits. Walk with him all the day long, and wait for him all the night season. And in case of erring from him, or sinning grievously against him, be not discouraged; for he is a God of mercies, and delighteth in pardoning and forgiving much and very often. What tender mother can be more ready to forgive and embrace the child, that appears broken and afflicted with her sore displeasure! Yea, He gives brokenness, he melteth the heart, that he may be tender towards, and embrace it in his arms of reconciliation, and in the peace of his Spirit.
O my dear companions, and fellow-travellers in spirit <419> towards the land of the living! all the motions of the life are cross to the corrupt [part], dwell [in the life], draw the yoke close about your necks, that ye may come into unity with the life, and the corrupt be worn out. Take the yoke, the cross, the contrariety of Jesus upon your spirits daily; that that may be worn out which hinders the unity, and so, ye may feel your King and Saviour exalted upon his throne in your hearts: this is your rest, peace, life, kingdom, and crown for ever.