Quaker Heritage Press > Online Texts > Isaac Penington's Works > Isaac Penington to _____ _____
MY DEAR FRIEND,
...This then is the way of redemption; to wait to feel the appearance of the light of the Spirit in the heart; and, at its least or lowest appearance, to be turned from the darkness towards it. Oh! feel the redeeming arm in thine own heart, and know the love which stretcheth it forth, and take heed of being prejudiced against its inward visitations to thee: for there is that near thee which would darken thee, and keep the seed of life in bondage. I know there is that in thee, which pants and is not satisfied, somewhat that thirsts after the living waters. The Spirit of the Lord saith, Come, come to the fountain of eternal life; drink, and live.
O Lord my God! discover to the thirsty souls, what it is that withholds them from the living waters; that they may not labor and spend their strength in vain, in duties and ordinances invented by man, for that which may lull asleep for the present, but can never quiet the cry of the living seed, nor ever satisfy the soul.
I know thy snare: there is a building in the earthly wisdom, a knowledge which thou holdest in the comprehension, out of the living feeling of that light, from which the true knowledge springs, and in which alone it is held. Thou must know the razing of this building, the confounding and scattering of this knowledge; that the true heir of the true knowledge may spring, and thou mayst feel the babe raised, to whom God reveals the mysteries of his kingdom; which he hides from the wise professors and teachers in this age, as he hath done in all ages. Thou art very wise; but thou must sell all that, and become a very fool, if thou wilt have the riches and everlasting treasure of the kingdom.
And, if thou wouldst draw near and find access to God in <420> prayer, thou must wait to feel the birth pray, and take heed of putting up requests in thy own wisdom, and according to thy own will; for these are the prayers of the false-formed child, or counterfeited birth, and not of the right seed; and the Father knows not, nor regards this voice. This is our religion: to feel that, which God begets in our hearts, preserved alive by God; to be taught by him to know him, to worship, and live to him, in the leadings and by the power of his Spirit: and, in this religion, we have the comforts and appearances of his Spirit; which are past all the disputings and questionings of man's wisdom, yea, and of our own hearts also, being demonstrated and made manifest to our spirits in a higher principle.
I found my heart in great love drawn to write these things to thee; and my soul pursueth them with breathings to the Lord my God, that hereby, or by what other means he shall see good, thou mayst be drawn into true unity and fellowship with the spring of eternal life; and not be deceived from the precious enjoyment of the God of thy life here, or of the salvation of thy soul for ever: The path of life is living; and thy feet must be guided into it, and walk faithfully in it to the end, if thou wilt sit down in God's eternal rest and peace.
I have been long desolate, and a great mourner after my God, and know how to pity and weep over wandering souls; though I cannot but rejoice at this great day of salvation and powerful visitation of God's Spirit, wherein he hath sought out and gathered many into the fold of his pure rest, where he is become their living Shepherd, and daily ministers of his life unto them. And he is seeking out many more: happy are they, that know and return at the Shepherd's voice, when he calleth after them.
I remain thy true, entire, faithful, loving Friend, in the love and good-will of the Lord, wishing to thy soul as to my own.