Quaker Heritage Press > Online Texts > Isaac Penington's Works > Isaac Penington to _____ _____ (1673)
DEAR FRIEND, --
For in those true desires, which I observe in thy heart towards the Lord, thou art, and canst not but be, dear unto me -- I had a desire to have stayed a little while with thee, the last time I passed through Uxbridge, but was prevented.
The occasion of my writing to thee was somewhat which was on my heart toward thee.
Wouldst thou know the Lord in the gospel covenant, and wouldst thou walk with him therein? I know thou wouldst. Wouldst thou have sin destroyed in thee, and Christ reign in thy heart? Wouldst thou so fight against thy enemies, as to overcome, and so run the race, as certainly to obtain the everlasting prize, and eternal weight of glory? Oh! then, mind truth in the inward parts, even the grace and truth which are by Jesus Christ; to whom God hath given power, and who gives power to his, by <503> the grace of his Holy Spirit, over sin and corruption in the inward parts. Did not God conquer the enemies of the outward Jews in Egypt, in the wilderness, and in the good land also? And shall he not do so inwardly, for the inward Jews? There are enemies in Egypt; in the land that is, as I may say, wholly dark, and under the oppression of Spiritual Pharaoh. There are enemies in that heart, which is as a wilderness and solitary place; and there are enemies in that heart, which is in some measure renewed, and made good and honest. Now all the spiritual enemies, all the enemies of a man's own house, are to be destroyed by the power of the Lord Jesus Christ, working by his grace in the heart; which being received, subjected to, dwelt in, and obeyed, brings deliverance and salvation from them all. And when salvation is brought home to the heart, and wrought out there by the Lord, it is to be enjoyed and abode in, and the soul is not to return back again into captivity; but being delivered out of the hands of its inward and spiritual enemies, by the holy, inward, and spiritual covenant, is to serve God in the dominion of his Son's life, in holiness and righteousness all its days here upon the earth.
O my friend! mind this precious truth inwardly, this precious grace inwardly, the precious life inwardly, the precious light inwardly, the precious power inwardly, the inward word of life, the inward voice of the Shepherd in the heart, the inward seed, the inward salt, the inward leaven, the inward pearl, &c., whereby Christ effects this. Distinguish between words without concerning the thing, and the thing itself within; and wait and labor, then to know, understand, and be guided by, the motives, leadings, drawings, teachings, quickenings, &c., of the thing itself within. And take heed of being offended, because of any thing, either within or without; for offences will come, but blessed was he, that was not offended at Christ outwardly in the days of his flesh; and blessed is he, that is not offended at his inward truth, and inward way of appearance in the day of his Spirit. Moses, that precious servant of the Lord, spake unadvisedly with his lips; how easy is it then, for those who come not near Moses' state so to do; but wait on God, that thou mayst distinguish between what truth speaks in any of us; and what any of us may unadvisedly speak, out of the truth, -- if we stand not <504> upon the watch, and our words be not seasoned with God's light and his grace. For praying to God, as God's Spirit leads and gives ability, and watching unto prayer, and seeking opportunities both alone and in our families, that God may open our hearts, and breathe upon us, and for frequent and diligent reading of the Holy Scriptures, -- none can testify from the truth against these things; though against men's dead and formal performing of these things, there is a living testimony. Now take heed of mistaking the testimony in any; or of being stumbled, if any go beyond their due bounds in their testimony.
O my friend, how precious is the thing, beyond all words or testimonies! Oh that thou mayst come to know that in thyself, and to be sensible of God's ministering by it to thee, and increasing it in thee! that thou mayst experimentally feel the seed in thee, and find it grow more and more, till it come to be a tree; and then sit under its shadow, and be delighted with its defence, and partake of its sap and fruit. Oh that every day thou mightest have a sense of the life itself, the truth itself, the power itself, the wisdom itself, the righteousness itself! and that thou mightest find the Lord Jesus Christ both unclothing and clothing thee inwardly, sensibly, and experimentally; -- that thou mightest find him taking away thy sin, thy iniquities, thy unrighteousness, both within and without also, and filling thee, and clothing thee with his righteousness; -- that so, in God's sight, and by his putting on thee, and forming in thee, thou mightst find thy heart filled and covered with the nature, image and Spirit of his dear Son; -- that thou mightest indeed, put off the old man with his nature and deeds, and put on the new man, and know the renewing and new-creating in Christ Jesus, in the spirit of thy mind; -- and so have a certain understanding of the truth, as it is in Jesus, and as he manifests it, gives power to it, and causes it to work in thy heart. This is the desire of my soul for thee: the Lord guide thee to it, and remove all lets and hindrances out of thy way.
My dear and true love is to thy husband. The Lord manifest his pure and living truth in both your hearts, and gather both your minds thereunto, and make you one therein.
Thy friend in truth, who heartily wisheth well to thy soul.
Grove Place, 17th of Ninth Month, 1673