Quaker Heritage Press > Online Texts > Isaac Penington's Works > Isaac Penington to Elizabeth Walmsley (1670)
Who art lovely to me in that precious life wherewith the Lord hath visited thee, and wherein he hath brought thee forth for his service, and to his praise.
Our Father is wise and powerful, who hath begun a work which he is able to carry on; and all the briars and thorns of the wilderness are not able to stop his course, who is "a consuming fire."
I find the spirits of Friends here much raised, who dwell in the fear and dread of the Lord God Almighty, where the fear and dread of man is removed far away. The Lord preserve us near unto himself, out of that which separates from him and weakens; and nothing shall be able to interrupt our joy in the Lord, nor our delight and pleasure in his will. Lo! I come, saith the child, to do thy will, O God! to drink the cup thou hast prepared; although there is a nature which cannot but say, If it be possible, let it pass away; but that nature is bowed down and subjected under its proper yoke, and, in submission, is kept out of sinning against the Lord, and is accepted by him who bows it, and makes it willing to follow the Lamb in the day of his power.
Truly the Lord hath done great things for us! He hath given us the sight and knowledge of himself in his Son, which is life eternal: he hath given us of the nature and spirit of his Son; he hath given us of the true faith whereby the just lives, and obtains victory over sin, death, and the grave; he hath given us of the hope which purifies the heart, and stays the mind in all storms; he hath given us of the Lamb's patience and meekness &c. And now if he will brighten these by afflictions, and try them, and cause them to shine to his glory; yea, and take advantage to increase them, and add further virtue to them, what cause have any of us to complain? Israel of old, after the flesh, murmured upon every trial; but Israel, after the new creation, doeth not so, but blesseth the Lord, and repineth not at the instruments which he permitteth to afflict them; but they love the Lord and love his truth, and are faithful in their testimony thereto, whatever befalls them. Yea, they rejoice that they are counted worthy to suffer in any kind for his name's sake, and are like lambs before the <436> shearers, not opening their mouths in a way of murmuring or reviling; but instead thereof, pitying them, praying for them, and blessing; because God hath made them children of love, children of peace, children of blessing; which nature they retain, in the midst of all their trials and afflictions, and show forth the virtues of Him that hath called them.
So that men shall not put out our life, nor put out our light, nor sever us from the love and power of God; but the more need we find of our God, and of his help and strength, the nearer shall we be driven to him, and dwell more closely in union with him, and in holy and humble dependence upon him. And in this temper shall we draw and receive more from him: and the more we draw from him, the better will it be with us, and the more like him shall we be.
The Lord keep open that heavenly eye in his children and servants, which looks over this world, with the affairs and concerns thereof, to that which is immortal and invisible; where our life is hid from others, though made manifest in and felt by us, from the living spring which quickens, nourisheth, and refresheth. And as afflictions abound from men, so shall consolations, life, and strength abound from the Lord, unto all, and upon all, who look not out, but abide and await there, where it springs and flows.
My dear love is to Friends in these parts (particularly M.O.); the Lord preserve them and keep them near to himself, that they may receive counsel and strength from him, according to their need. I am sensible of thy great love to us, expressed in thy care and tenderness of our child, as well as in other things: I hope she is no burden to thee. Oh that she might feel and be guided by that which keeps in order all that are subject to it!
I remain thy friend and brother, in the life and love which never dies nor changes,
18th of Second Month, 1670