Quaker Heritage Press > Online Texts > Works of Isaac Penington > Isaac Penington to Sarah Bond
I have had many thoughts of thee in this my imprisonment; wherein I have seen in spirit thy error and miscarriage, and a hope and expectation in thy heart which will deceive thee.
Oh, how much precious time hast thou lost! wherein thou mightst have been travelling far on thy journey, while thou art disputing in thy mind, and wandering in the deceitful reasonings of thy heart. And indeed, it must not be, it must not be as thou imaginest; but thou must begin low, and be glad of a little light to travel with out of the earthly nature, and be faithful thereunto; and in faithfulness expect additions of light, and so much power as may help thee to rub on. And though thou may be long low, and weak, and little, and ready to perish; yet in the humble and self-denying state, the Father will help thee, and cause his life to shoot up in thee, in the shooting up whereof will be thy redemption.
But, oh hasten, oh hasten out of the earthly nature, whilst thou hast time, or any visitations from the Spirit of the Lord! and do not, in thy wisdom, limit him, but accept what at present comes from him; for the flood is breaking out, and will swallow <12> up and drown all that are not found in the ark. Oh! therefore enter, enter apace; mind that which checks in thy heart; mind also that which reasons against those checks, to hold thee still in captivity, and to keep thee from travelling out of the earthly nature, spirit, wisdom, and practices; and come out of the spirit and way of this world, that thou mayst live, and not die. For none shall live, but those that walk in the way of life, and leave the paths and course of the dead, in which thou art yet entangled. Oh that thou mightst be loosed, and travel out thence, with a little light and a little help! and not limit the Holy One of Israel in thy desires or expectations, but thankfully receive the smallest visitation that comes from him to thy soul; for there is life and peace in it, and death and perplexity in turning from it. And this will not be thy comfort or satisfaction hereafter, to have had a day of visitation and mercy from on high; but to have received the visitation, and to have been turned in it, from the darkness of the earthly mind and nature, into the light of the living and redeemed souls, -- this will be comfortable indeed!
And this is my tender counsel to thee: wait for and gaspingly receive the checks of the Most High, and take heed of reasoning against them; but as that (though in a low and mean and despicable way to thy wisdom) draws and leads thee out of any earthly thought, word, custom, or practice, follow diligently; not reasoning against it, but waiting to have thy reasonings subdued to the smallest motions and lowest guidance of life in thee. For I know that life is near thee, even the life that would effectually redeem thee; but it is bowed down and held captive under the dominion of the earthly wisdom; and so thy redemption (which is to be wrought out by it) sticks, and will stick, until thy heart be persuaded to join to it and become subject, without reasoning, without consulting, without disputing. For I certainly know the light manifests in thee; but the darkness puts off the present manifestation of the light, and expects another; and this is in the will of the flesh, which the Father will not answer; and in this will and expectation thou wilt perish; but thy help, life, and salvation are in being subject to the present manifestation of light, parting with and departing from what thou already knowest to be of the earth, and not of God.
And in thus doing, more will be made manifest in the Lord's <13> season, and power given to become a child, after some belief in the Father, and some entrance into the childlike nature; but the will and expectation of the flesh in thee shall never be answered: -- it hath been long written in my heart concerning thee, but I dare never utter it to thee. Oh that it may be now uttered, to the melting and advantage of thy heart! for, indeed, I love thee, and have travailed for thee, and desire the salvation of thy soul, as of my own. Oh that thou mayst be led out of that wisdom which destroys, into that which saves! and mayst there, in humility of heart, receive instruction daily, according to thy need. But indeed, of a truth, thou must come into and come under that which crucifies thy nature and wisdom; and there (in the seasons of God's wisdom, who answers the desires of his own Spirit in the heart, but regards not the flesh) mayst thou meet with life and power, but no where else.
I am thy friend, and a dear lover of that in thee which desires the Lord; and oh that that might come up in thee, and be severed from the earth, that thy soul may live!