Quaker Heritage Press > Online Texts > Works of Isaac Penington > Isaac Penington to Bridget Atley




I am sensible of thy sore travail and deep distress, and how hard it is for thee to meet with that which is comfortable and refreshing, and how easily again it is lost; and whence it ariseth, -- even from the working of the enemy in a mystery of deceit in thy heart; wherein thou dost not perceive nor suspect him, but swallowest down his baits, and so he smites thee with his hook, and thereby draws thee back into the region of darkness; and then, entereth that part in thee which is in nature one with him, filling it with his wickedness; and then, laying loads of accusations upon thee, as if they were true. These are not strange things to the travellers after the Lord, but such as are usually met with in the like cases: but if thy eye were made single and opened by the Lord, thou wouldst see those baits, and turn from that, which thou now so readily swallowest down; and so avoid the stroke, and keep thy station, in the light and mercy of the Lord. Thou must not look so much at the evil that is nigh, but rather at that which stands ready to pity and help, -- and which hath pitied and helped thy distressed soul, and will pity and help it again. Why is there a mercy-seat, but for the sinner to look towards in time of need?

Neither must thou hearken to the questionings of the insnaring questioner; but cleave to that which shuts them out, keeping to the sense of the love and mercy, when the Lord is kind and tender to thee. When the enemy entered thy habitation again, and broke thy rest, peace, and enjoyment of the Lord; again, an earnest desire after cleansing arose in thee; not from the life, but in the evil; this was also a means to rob thee of that, which, in its abiding and powerful operation cleanseth the heart; and here, thou wouldst be limiting the Lord in his dealings, who <27> worketh according to the counsel of his own will, and visiteth when and where he pleaseth. And thus the enemy having caught thee with his mysterious workings, he than draws thee into the pit of darkness, where the remembrance of life, and the sense of mercy and love vanisheth; and there is no help for thee, by any thing thou canst do or think. But be patient, till the Lord's tender mercy and love visit thee again; and then, look up to him against this and such like snares, which would come between thee and the appearance of the Lord's love; that thou mayst feel more of his abidings with thee, and of the sweet effects thereof. For, these things are not to destroy thee, but to teach thee wisdom; which the Lord is able, through many exercises and sore trials, to bestow upon thee; which my soul will exceedingly rejoice to hear the tidings of; that thy heart may be rid of all that burdeneth, and filled with all it rightly desires after, in the proper season and goodness of the Lord; to whose wise ordering and tender mercy I commit thee, remaining

Thy faithful friend,

I. P.