Quaker Heritage Press > Online Texts > Isaac Penington's Works > Isaac Penington to Thomas and Ann Mudd (1672)
Of whose love to me, I have been and am sensible, and to whom I bear true love.
When I was last at Rickmansworth, it was on my heart to visit you; and while I was there with you, true and living breathings did spring up in my heart to the Lord for you. Since, I have often thought of you, and in my desires have wished well concerning you, as concerning my own soul.
Your days here cannot be long; and what ye sow here ye must reap when ye go out of this world. Oh that ye may now so sow to the Spirit of God, as that ye may then reap of him life everlasting!
Last first day, my wife had a letter of George Fox's sent her, which I heard read that night. In the reading of it, I had many thoughts respecting you, and a desire that ye might sincerely and uprightly, without prejudice, peruse it; which I sent unto you the next day for that end. Now, this morning ye were upon my heart; and two or three things rose up in me in reference to you, as very necessary for you, that ye may be safe, and that it may go well with you for ever.
One was, that ye keep steadfast in that holy testimony of truth, which was given forth among us at the beginning. For this <497> truth is the same, and the testimony of it doth not vary or pass away, but shall last throughout ages and generations, to redeem all that receive it, and are faithful to it. The testimony was, to draw from outward, dead knowledge, and out of dead practices and worships after men's own conceivings, into an inward principle, and into worship in Spirit and truth, both inwardly in the heart, and outwardly in the assemblies of God's gathering.
The second was, that ye keep in the sense, esteem, and sanctified use of those holy instruments which God hath made choice of, both to gather and build up his called and chosen ones. It was never well with Israel, when they slighted Moses (though they many times had exceptions against him), nor when they despised the prophets, whom God sent afterwards (though they were often prejudiced against them also); nor was it well with any of the churches, when, by the subtlety and seeming simplicity of those that endeavored to betray them, or by any other means, they were drawn to think meanly of any of the apostles or ministers of Christ, in their day. And the Lord, who preserved Moses in his day, and the prophets in their day, and the apostles and holy ministers of truth in the first promulgation of the gospel, is the same God still; and doth and will preserve those whom he hath in this age sent forth to publish his everlasting gospel, and to gather his lambs and scattered sheep into holy gatherings and assemblies.
The third was, that ye be daily exercised, guided, and your hearts opened and quickened, by the principle and Spirit of truth; that so ye may know what it is, to walk with the Lord, and to feel the power of the Lord, and enjoy the presence of the Lord; and be led by him out of, and away from, the mysterious workings of the power and spirit of darkness inwardly. For if, through grievous mistake, ye let this into your minds and spirits, instead of the Spirit of truth, ye must needs call darkness light, and light darkness; truth error, and error truth; and so will err from that which is indeed the way, into somewhat which, in God's sight, is not so. For there is a spirit of delusion as well as of truth; this works in the heart as a minister of righteousness, in a seeming light, and warming the heart with a wrong fire, brings it into a wrong bed of rest, and administers to it a wrong peace, hope, and joy; setting up there a wrong sense, belief, and judgment concerning <498> itself and others. This leads to separate from them that are true, and joins to them that are false; draws from the assemblies and worships of God's gathering, and begets prejudices against, and hard thoughts of, those who are owned by the Lord, and are kept in their habitation by him, who dwells in them, and they in him.
O my friends! the Lord give you the true discerning of this spirit, and of his own Spirit; and deliver you out of the snare of the enemy, and open that eye in you, to which he gives the sight of what is, and who are, of him, and what is, and who are, not of him: that ye may be disjoined from all that is not of God, and joined to the Lord, abiding and walking in him; and may know, that God doth not cast off his holy people, gatherings, and assemblies, but constantly appears in the midst of such as truly and humbly wait for him; glory be to his name!
God knoweth in what sense, in what understanding, in what love, in what desire, in what fear, in what knowledge, from him, I write this to you; who am a true friend to you both (in true and faithful love, as in God's sight), and a hearty desirer of your everlasting happiness.
19th of the Twelfth Month, 1672