Quaker Heritage Press > Online Texts > Works of Isaac Penington > Isaac Penington to Lady Conway




In tender love, and in a sense of thy sore afflictions and exercises, I do most dearly salute thee; desiring for thee, that the work of the Lord in thy heart may not be interrupted by any devices of the enemy; but that it may go on and prosper in thee, in the springing up of the pure seed of life in thy heart, and in the powerful overturning, by the mighty arm of the Lord, of all that is contrary thereto in thee. Oh that thou mayst daily feel that holy birth of life, which is begotten by the Father, and lives by faith in him! I say, oh that thou mayst daily feel it living in thee, when temptations and trials on every hand increase -- feel the birth of life, which will cry to the Father, "Lord, increase my faith!"

Though sorrows, heaviness, and faintings of heart ever so much increase; yet, if thy faith increase also, it will bear thee up in the midst of them. I would fain have it go well with thee, and that thou mightst not want the Reprover, in any thing that is to be reproved in thee; nor the Comforter, in any respect wherein thy soul wants comfort; nor the holy Counsellor and Adviser, in any strait or difficulty which the wise and tender God orders to befall thee.

Ah! that thou mightst come to feel the daily wasting of sin <3> and death, and the daily springing of life and holiness in thy heart. The pearl is worth thousands of worlds, with the greatest earthly glory and pleasure imaginable. Oh that thou mayst be taught of God to discern it more and more, and to buy it, and to come into the enjoyment and possession of it! The Lord manifest Zion more and more to thee, and show thee the glory of it, and set thy feet towards it; and put into thy heart to seek of him the way to it, renewing thee more and more in the spirit of thy mind, whereby the way comes clearly to be discerned, and faithfully walked in; that thou mayst witness, daily, the everlasting covenant of life and peace, even the sure mercies of David.

The desire of my soul is, that thy afflictions, which how grievous soever, yet are but momentary, may fit thee for, and work out, an eternal weight of glory, for thy soul to inherit in another world, for ever.

I remain a sympathizer with thee in thy sufferings; who desire all the advantage and blessings from the God of my life may come to thee, which hardships, temptations, and trials prepare the heart and make way for.

I. P.

14th of 12th Month, 1678


My dear Friend,

Some time after writing the foregoing, this arose in me to thee. If the Lord, in thy waiting upon him, to search and try thy heart and ways, shall please to show thee any thing amiss therein; mind this counsel on my heart to thee: Be not looking at it too much, on the one hand, or excusing it, on the other hand; but sink down beneath thyself, retiring thither, where thou mayst receive from the Lord true judgment concerning it, and also strength against it. And know this, in the holy experience; that thou must be weakened by the Lord, and be contented in or with thy weak and distressed estate, if thou wouldst receive mercy and strength from him. And the more thou art weakened and distressed, the more thou art fitted for, and the more abundantly shalt thou partake of, his mercy and strength; waiting upon him in the meek, quiet, patient, and resigned spirit, which he will not fail to work thy mind into; that, in the issue of all, thou mayest reap the quiet fruits of righteousness and heavenly peace from his hand. Amen, so be it from the Lord to thy soul!