Quaker Heritage Press > Online Texts > Isaac Penington's Works > Isaac Penington to _____ _____
THE enemy kindles a great distress in the mind, by stirring up an earnest desire, and a sense of a seeming necessity to know. When a motion ariseth, how shall I do, to know whether it be of God or no? For if it be of God, it ought to be obeyed; and if it be not of God, it ought to be resisted; but what shall I do, who cannot tell what it is? I must of necessity fall, either into disobedience to God's Spirit, or into the snares of the enemy. Thus the enemy raiseth up a strength in the reasoning part, even unanswerable there. But what if it were better for thee, at present, to be darkened about these things, than as yet to know? Can that possibly be? will the strong reason readily say. Yes, that it may, in many respects. There is somewhat else would live and be acting in thee, if the clear and heavenly knowledge were given; and thou wouldst be centering in self, that which thou receivedst from God; yea, thou wouldst miss of the way of true knowledge, and never learn in every state to be content, nor know the pure way and actings of life in such a state. Truly, this is not the way of the child's knowing; but the child knows, in resignation and subjection of its very knowledge; and if there appear ever so great a necessity of knowledge, and yet knowledge be not given, it sinks in fear and humility, into the will of the pure seed; and there somewhat springs up (unknown to the natural wisdom, and not in the way of man's wisdom), which at seasons preserves and bears it up in such a state. But this is a great mystery; yet sensibly experienced by the true travellers at this day.
Therefore retire out of all necessities, according to the apprehension of the reasoning mind; and judge that only necessary, which God, in his eternal wisdom and love, proportions out unto us. And when thou comest hither, thou wilt come to thy rest; <457> and as thou abidest here, thou wilt abide in thy soul's true rest, and know the preciousness of that lesson, and of whom thou art to learn it, even in every state to be content.