Quaker Heritage Press > Online Texts > Works of Isaac Penington > Isaac Penington to _______ _______
The Lord God on whom I wait, and whom I worship in spirit and truth, and whom it is my delight to serve and obey, hath divers times engaged my mind to write to thee in true and tender love. There is somewhat, also, on my heart at this time to thee, concerning the state of the gospel in general, and in particular concerning the state and condition of those, who truly know and serve the Lord Jesus Christ, the King of saints.
The state of the gospel in general, is a state of redemption and deliverance from the soul's enemies; of which redemption every soul partakes, according to its faith in and obedience to the <30> Truth, and according to its growth in him who is true. The babes in Christ and little children, their sins are forgiven them for his name's sake. The young men have fought valiantly, and have overcome the wicked one. The old men, or elders in the truth, they are experienced in the heavenly wisdom and knowledge of Him who is from the beginning.
Now, there are some things which belong to all in general, or which are common to all, and somewhat which is peculiar to each member in particular. These things, which belong to all in general, are very many; but it is only on my heart to mention to thee at this time those few which the apostle recites together in Eph. 4:4-6, which indeed comprehend much; and he that knoweth and partaketh of them, hath also a share in, and benefit by, all the rest. First, he saith, "There is one body." There is one head; and this one head hath one body, of which all that are truly living are members. Secondly, "There is one Spirit," which quickens, keeps alive, and gives nourishment to, ordereth, comforteth, defendeth this one body. Thirdly, "There is one hope of" their "calling;" for they are all called from the land of darkness, and out of the shadow and dominion of death, to travel towards an inheritance of light, and life everlasting. Fourthly, There is "one Lord," who hath power over, and the rule and dominion of, this one body; to whom they are all to give an account daily of what they do, and at the last day, of what hath been done in their body of flesh. Fifthly, There is "one faith," wherewith they all believe in, and draw virtue from, the head; which faith is the gift of God, and springs from the root of life in his Son, and is of another nature than that natural ability of believing, which is found in mankind. Sixthly, There is "one baptism," by the one Spirit; whereby all the true members are baptized into the one living body, and come to partake of the virtue, benefits, and privileges thereof. Lastly, There is "one God and Father of all," who begat them all, and is to be worshipped by them all, as their Lord and God; he being witnessed and experienced by them to be "above all, and through all, and in" them "all." This is the state in general, the gospel state, into which Christ gives his sheep -- his Father's children -- entrance; and it is a blessed thing to know and experience this state, that is, to have a real interest in, and really to partake of, these things.
<31> The state of every one in particular is thus: -- "Unto every one" in particular "is given grace, according to the measure of the gift of Christ." Grace and truth comes by Jesus Christ; for the fulness is his, yea, he is the fulness; and of his fulness doth he give a measure to each member in particular. Not to all a like proportion, but to every one some; as he pleaseth to distribute and proportion out the gift of his grace to them. For it is his own, and he may dispense his gifts and heavenly talents as he pleaseth; and according to the state of each in the body, and according to their work and service, so doth he proportion out his gift of grace to them. Now, this is that which every one is to mind; even the grace given to them, their own gift from Christ, to grow in that, and to be what they are in that. He that hath none of this grace, he is none of Christ's; and he that hath received the grace, the free gift, he is to keep to the measure of it, in all he is and does.
Now, shall I say to thee, feel my love in these lines? or shall I not rather say, feel the love of my God, who visits thee yet again, and would not have thee perish, in resisting his Holy Spirit, and slighting the grace and truth which is by Jesus Christ, which is now powerfully revealed in many hearts? Blessed be he who hath visited his people with the horn of salvation.