Quaker Heritage Press > Online Texts > Works of Isaac Penington > Isaac Penington to S. W.
DEAR S. W.
I have ever had a love to thee, and have many times been filled with earnest desires for thee; that thou mayst know the Lord in his own pure teachings, and travel into and dwell in the fulness of the kingdom of his dear Son; and that thou mayst be blessed with spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.
In order to arrive here, thou must wait to know God and Christ, in the mystery of their Spirit, life, and power; and by that Spirit, life, and power, find the secrets of the mystery of darkness searched and purged out, and the mystery of godliness opened and established in thy heart, in the room thereof; -- Christ formed inwardly; the soul formed, yea, and created inwardly anew in him; a real transplanting into his death, and a real feeling of his springing and rising life; and an experience of the sweetness, safety, and virtue of his rising life; and daily to be sensible, what it is in the risings of the life and power; and so be only what thou art made and preserved to be, in the light, grace, life, virtue, and power of the Lord Jesus Christ; and to feel him remove any thing that is unrighteous, and clothing thee with his pure life, Spirit, and righteousness.
Oh! this is indeed the pure, precious, living knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ; which all the outward knowledge tends to lead to, and is comprehended and ended in. This is the excellency of the knowledge of Jesus Christ our Lord, which Paul was so ravished with, and counted all things but dross and dung for. Now, that thou mayst obtain this, mind the inward appearance, the root, the fountain, the rock within, the living stone within, -- its openings, its springings, its administering life to thee; and take heed of running into the outwardness of openings concerning the heavenly things; but keep, oh learn to keep, oh mind to keep, in the inwardness of life within! This is the everlasting habitation of the birth which is begotten and brought forth, bred up and kept alive, alone by the presence, power, and operation of the living Spirit; and the Lord Jesus is that Spirit, as really as he was man, even the holy, heavenly, immaculate, spotless Lamb of God. And in this state, life reigns in the heart, and the horn of the Holy One is exalted, the head of the serpent crushed, yea, Satan trod under foot, by the God of peace; who would have his children dwell in <5> the sweetness and fulness of the gospel, in the peace, life, righteousness, and joy of his blessed Spirit and power.
Oh! who would not desire after and wait for and walk with the Lord, towards the obtaining and possessing of these things? All the promises, in Christ, are yea and amen. Inward victory is promised; the inward presence of God is promised; God's dwelling and walking in the soul is promised; Christ supping with the soul, and the soul with him, is promised; putting the law in the heart, and writing it there; putting the pure, living fear into it; yea, also the holy, powerful Spirit into it, which can cause it to walk in God's ways, and to keep his righteous judgments and do them: and he is able to do this work in the heart; for what cannot the Spirit of judgment and burning consume and burn up within? Yea, all these things are promised. He can cause the soul to rejoice in the Lord, and work righteousness, and to remember the Lord in his ways, as some were taught and enabled to do in former times; Isa. 64:5; yea, he can bring into the way of holiness, the King of glory's highway, into which no unclean thing can enter, and [can] keep undefiled therein; and they that are kept undefiled therein taste the sweetness, blessedness, purity, and holy pleasures thereof.
I would fain have my own soul and thine, and all the real, serious, faithful people of God experience, and be able to say with David, that which, after his many trials, afflictions, troubles, temptations, and grievous fall, he was able to say, in relation to his walking with the Lord, "For I have kept the ways of the Lord, and have not wickedly departed from my God. For all his judgments were before me, and I did not put away his statutes from me. I was also upright before him, and I kept myself from iniquity." Ps. 18:21-23. Oh! this is precious, when a man comes to know his iniquity, wherein the enemy's strength lies as to him, and whereby the enemy hath most advantage to tempt and gain ground on him, brought down and subdued. Certainly, when one gains strength from God, to overcome the enemy here, and to keep out of this, he comes very near to the keeping of himself, in and by the virtue of the Holy Spirit and power, so as the wicked one cannot touch him, and nor draw him to touch any unclean thing. If that be indeed put off, wherein the enemy's power lies; and that indeed put on, wherein the strength of the Lord Jesus is revealed; <6> and the soul be really in the possession of, and abide in this state; how can it be but strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might; and witness the good pleasure of the goodness of the Lord fulfilling, and the work of faith going on with power, daily, more and more; a little measure whereof, kept to, removes the mountains inwardly, and gives strength over the enemy. How, then, doth it increase and grow up in life and virtue, and in a sensible understanding and experience of the name of the Lord Jesus? Is there not, in this state, a feeling of remission of sins, a feeling of redemption, a feeling of reconciliation, a feeling of oneness with God in Christ, a feeling of God being the salvation, strength, and song, and a trusting in him, and not being afraid? Isa. 12:2. Is there not a being careful in nothing, but in every thing making the requests to God, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, in that Spirit and holy breath of life, which the Father cannot deny; and so, the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, keeping the heart and mind through Christ Jesus?
O my friend! there is an ingrafting into Christ, a being formed and new created in Christ, a living and abiding in him, and a growing and bringing forth fruit through him into perfection. Oh, mayst thou experience all these things! and that thou mayst do so, wait to know life, the springings of life, the separations of life inwardly, from all that evil which hangs about it, and would be springing up and mixing with it, under an appearance of good; that life may come to live fully in thee, and nothing else. And so, sink very low, and become very little, and know little; yea, know no power to believe, act, or suffer any thing for God, but as it is given thee, by the springing grace, virtue, and life of the Lord Jesus. For grace is a spiritual, inward thing and holy seed, sown by God, springing up in the heart. People have got a notion of grace, but know not the thing. Do not thou matter the notion, but feel the thing; and know thy heart more and more plowed up by the Lord, that his seed's grace may grow up in thee more and more, and thou mayst daily feel thy heart as a garden, more and more enclosed, watered, dressed, and delighted in by him.
This is a salutation of love from thy friend in the truth, which lives and changes not.
27th of Twelfth Month, 1678