Quaker Heritage Press > Online Texts > Isaac Penington's Works > Isaac Penington to William Armorer
The weighty sense of an eternal condition after this life, hath been upon my heart from my childhood; and it is often with me, that I must give an account to God, when I pass out of this transitory world, of all things done in the body; and shall enter <518> into eternal rest and blessedness, or eternal woe or misery.
This causeth me to call upon the Lord daily, for grace and wisdom from him; that my conscience, being cleansed through the blood of his Son, may be kept void of offence, both towards him and men. And truly (I speak not boastingly, but in the fear of the Lord, and in the sense of his goodness and tender mercy to me), my heart is preserved in love and innocency towards those, who most injuriously, and without provocation on my part, have taken away my liberty, for aught I know, for my whole lifetime. What thou further intendest towards me, the Lord knows, to whom I have committed my cause: but this is on my heart to express to thee, because, when I was with thee, thou spakest words to this purpose, that we wished thee hanged, or would be glad if thou wert hanged. God, who knows my heart, is witness, that I wish thee no evil, neither to thee nor thy family; but wish thou mayst avoid all such things, as may bring his wrath and curse upon thee, either in this world or the world to come.
And, friend, do not provoke the Lord by afflicting those that fear him; but cease to do evil, learn to do well; and this will please the Lord, and is more acceptable to him than all the worship that can be offered up to him without this.
I have sent thee a little book, as a token of my love, desiring thee to peruse it seriously. Oh! do not endeavor to bring me into such a condition as is there related. I have had greater light, in the way into which the Lord hath led me, than this man had; and in that light I have seen, that I ought not to swear, but to give the "Yea" and "Nay" of truth, which comes from the Christian nature, and is of far more certainty and assurance than swearing. For the man that swears may easily break his oath, but he that keeps to the truth cannot alter his yea and nay, but it stands in the truth; and this our Lord and Master hath set above, and on the top of, and instead of, swearing; which if we should vary from and deny, we should deny him who hath taught us not to swear. Indeed, if we had not learnt it of the Lord, and if it was not by him required of us, we should rather swear than otherwise; for we would very willingly give men satisfaction, in those particulars which they require us to swear about.
Friend, God hath given thee an immortal soul, and doth <519> require of thee righteousness towards thy fellow-creatures, and temperance and moderation of spirit, and sensibleness of the judgment to come after this life. Thou are stricken in years, and thou hast but a little moment left remaining of thy time; and then it will be determined concerning thy soul, what or how it shall be for ever! Let the words of love, truth, and innocency from me, prevail upon thee to be serious, and to let in the sense and fear of God upon thy heart. Thou hast spent much time in serving man; Oh, spend a little in serving and fearing God! There is somewhat, which is pure, of God, appointed by him to exercise the conscience towards him. Thou hast such a thing near thee. Oh that thou mightest know it, and be joined to it! for till then, thou canst never truly serve nor fear the Lord, but mayst spend thy time here in a vain show, and at last be judged and condemned by the Lord, and lie down in eternal sorrow; which, it is the desire of my heart, may not be thy portion from the hand of the Lord.
This is from a sufferer by thee, who never gave thee the least cause or provocation so to deal with me.