Quaker Heritage Press > Online Texts > Isaac Penington's Works > Isaac Penington to George Winkfield (1677)




Two things stick upon my heart, since our last short discourse at the window at Kings, through my desire that it may go well with thee, and that thou mayst be right in God's sight.

One is, that saying of thine about thy love to truth and Friends, as if it were as great as ever it was. Now, I entreat thee to weigh this thing, and to wait on God to know, whether it be really so or no; which thou mayst understand by this: if thou be as really desirous, and waitest, as singly, to know and obey the commands of truth as ever, then, thy love to it is as great as formerly in its first heat and zeal; otherwise not. "He that hath <526> my commandments and keepeth them," saith Christ, "he it is that loveth me." John 14:21. And hereby, we know that our knowledge of him is true and living; because it leads, quickens, and enables us to the keeping of his commandments. 1 John. 2:3.

The other is, that thou saidst, thy heart is not hardened. Oh! consider this seriously; for, if thy heart be hardened, and thou not sensible of it, thy estate is exceeding dangerous. Now, if the Lord by his power hath preserved thee out of that which hardens the heart; then, without doubt, thy heart is not hardened: but if the enemy hath tempted thee to let in reasonings into thy mind, against any thing that is indeed of God; and thou hast run into any practices contrary to truth, and justifiest them in thy heart, from any reasonings and thoughts the enemy hath suggested to and strengthened thy mind in; then, without doubt, thy heart is so far hardened. It is impossible for thee, or any one else, to let in that which hardens, and not be hardened.

Oh! mind that precious advice of the Apostle. Heb. 3:13. Mark, sin deceives, lust deceives, desire after any thing that pleaseth the flesh, and is desirable to the worldly nature, deceives. And whoever is deceived by it, and lets it in (mind, he doth not let it in as an evil thing, but is deceived by it), his heart is hardened against that which would show him the evil of it, and draw his mind from it, if he did in truth hearken to it, and were not lulled asleep in the deceit. And there must be a daily watching against that which deceives and hardens, as the apostle there adviseth them to exhort one another unto, lest the enemy at any time catch any of them in the snare of sin, and so harden them.

Now, he that would not provoke the Lord to give him up to full hardness, must take heed of the degrees thereof; and happy is he who so doth. O G.W.! consider, as before the Lord, whether thy walking be answerable to truth, so far as thou knowest truth; and whether thou art willingly ignorant of any thing, which the good God is willing and ready to give thee the knowledge of, that thou mayst take the more liberty to the flesh in that, which the life of truth, if felt, would soon condemn and draw from.

This is in most sincere love to thee, from him who hath always been thy friend.

I. P.

11th of 12th Month, 1677