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The Missing Cross to Purity


Letters 26-50


The Letters Of Isaac Penington
(Continued)

Table of Contents

(click on the Letter number to go directly to it.)

XXVI — Fear God, Give Glory to Him, Worship Him in Spirit and Truth, Suffer God's Judgment of Your Heart.

XXVII — Advice and Sympathy to One Under Trial

XXVIII — Your Hope in Christ and Understanding of the Light

XXIX — The Necessities of the Walk, Scriptures, Church, Tribulation

XXX — Truth in the Inward Parts

XXXI — Deliverance from Spiritual Enemies by Christ; between outward and inward


XXXII — Encouragement to Faithfulness under Apprehensions of Suffering

XXXIII — Exhortation to Die, Wait, Feel the Seed

XXXIV — On Decay of First Love, with a desire for anything in the world being lust and sin

XXXV — The Requirements of GOD, Simply Stated (this is the Preface Letter also)

XXXVI — The Heart to Be Cleansed and Fully Taken by Christ

XXXVII — The Necessity and Benefits of Affliction

XXXVIII — On the Benefit of Chastening by Afflictions

XXXIX — The Promises, Changes of Your Heart, Engrafting Him in You

XL — Counsel to One Tossed by Tempests

XLI — Encouragement under Trials of the Cross of Christ

XLII — On being Offended by those who fall into Temptation

XLIII — The Mind may be stayed in Peace amidst the Enemy’s Accusations

XLIV — Christ, the Root of all True Religion

XLV — Snares of the Adversary to Distress the Soul

XLVI — A Loving Plea to a Persecutor

XLVII — On an unfaithful Profession of the Truth

XLVIII — Focusing on Christ's Fleshly Appearance, Missing His Spiritual Appearance

XLIX — What I have — daily the light and the Son of God in my heart

XL — Basics Leading to Possession of the Fullness of Christ 

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LETTER XXVI

Fear God, Give Glory to Him,
Worship Him in Spirit and Truth,
Suffer God's Judgment in Your Heart

To Widow Hemmings

DEAR FRIEND,

Since I last saw you, there have been many deep and serious thoughts on my heart concerning you; and a sense of your state as before the Lord, and breathings of heart for you. I am sensible, that the Spirit of the Lord is striving with you, and in some measure opening your heart towards him and his Truth; and I am sensible withal, that there is much striving against him; and many strongholds of wisdom and reasonings in you, which must be broken down, before Truth can spring up in your heart, and exercise its power in you, and have full command in you. Now, this morning, when I awoke, there were three things sprang up in me, which my heart did singly and earnestly desire for you. One was, that you might be led by God's Holy Spirit into the new and living covenant, where Christ is revealed, and the soul united to him as the Lord and King, in a bond of indissoluble union. Another was, that you might daily be taught of God, and learn of him, in this holy, new, pure, and everlasting covenant. The third was, that you might be true and faithful to God, to obey and follow him, in whatever he teaches and requires of you.

If you were but in this state, you would find sweetness and rest, peace and power, the righteousness of our Lord Jesus Christ, and life eternal, revealed in your own heart; and with joy, draw water out of the wells of salvation.

Now, if you come to witness Christ's appearance in spirit, and will become a disciple unto him, there are three things you must apply your heart to learn of him; which indeed are the sum of the gospel, or of what is taught in and by the gospel. The first is, to fear God. This is the beginning of true heavenly wisdom, and this is the perfection and the end of wisdom also; for, true wisdom not only brings into the fear, but it builds up in the fear, yes, and perfects in the fear also; according as the apostle said, "Perfecting holiness in the fear of the Lord." Now, this is not such a fear, as man can attain by anything he can do; but is the fear of the new covenant, which God puts into the hearts of his children, as he quickens them and brings them up in the new covenant. This is such a fear, as that those in whom it is placed, cannot depart from the Lord; nor, abiding in it, err from the way of life and holiness; for all sin and transgression, all rebellion against the Lord, and grieving and quenching his Spirit, is out of this fear. [George Fox said in his Doctrinal Books: To fear God, is not to grieve nor offend Him, but to be subject to Him and reverence Him.]. Oh that you might receive this fear from the Lord, and grow up unto him daily in it.

The second, which depends upon and flows from the former, is, to give glory to God, in discerning his life and power, and the virtue of his Spirit and his grace, working all in you; and so, still ascribing the glory to him, of all you are, do, or can do. For, in the day of the gospel, no flesh can glory in the presence of our God; but, the Lord alone is exalted in the spirits of his children, in that day. And indeed, as every one comes into the fear of the new covenant, the presence of the Lord is there, dwelling in the midst of the heart; and he is found working all in it, and bringing forth the seed of life, and working down sin, and death, and corruption. And they that are here, feel their own poverty and nothingness, as in themselves; and that their way to become strong in Christ, is first to become weak in themselves: and so, when they are strong in him, he who is their strength is glorified and admired, and self is of no reputation or value forever and ever; for, that is cleaved to, which brought down self, and that power and spirit being cleaved to, still keeps it down.

The third is, that you learn to worship God in spirit and truth. Oh this worship is precious indeed! and this is the only sort of worship which God notices and regards, among the many various kinds of worshippers which appear at this day. This worship was declared by Christ, and taught his disciples; but it has been in great measure departed from; and though many have sought after it, yet none ever could find it, but as they have learned of the Father to return to the anointing; and so, to be gathered into his Spirit, where Christ's name is known, and where they that meet together, worship in his name; and, of a truth, none know or can worship in Christ's name besides these. There have been great mistakes about worship and gatherings; they having not been in the name and power of our Lord Jesus Christ, but only in a profession thereof, and an imitation of things, without the true life and power; and what is that worship and religion in the sight of the Lord?

Now, so that you may come into this state, and learn all these lessons of the Lord in the new covenant, there is one thing indispensably necessary for you; which is, to know the hour of God's judgment in your own heart, and to lie under the judgment of the Lord, bearing it until he finished it, and brings it forth unto victory. For, this is the way by which he purges and redeems the soul; namely, by the spirit of judgment and burning. You must therefore wait for, and come to feel, the Spirit of the Lord near you, discovering sin to you, and revealing judgment against it, and executing his righteous judgment upon the evil nature in you; that he may raise up that good and tender plant of righteousness, out of the dry and barren ground, to which his mercy is.

If you come to know God's Spirit, and to receive it, and feel it work in you, and its pure light shine from the fountain and spring of life, you will have a quicker sense and discerning from it, than can arise either from words written, or from thought;  that is, the Lord will show you the way whereof you doubt ; quicker than a thought can arise in you; and the Lord will show you evil, in a pure sense of the new nature, quicker than you can think or consider of anything. And indeed, this is needful; for sin lodges in the evil nature inwardly, and works, not so much by a known law set up in the mind, as by a secret nature; and, if it is not resisted and withstood by another nature, it can never be overcome. Now, by this judgment set up in the heart, does God overcome and keep down sin forever; for the judgment of God is stronger than sin and will bring it down, where his judgment is received and abode in; and what bought it down, being kept to, will keep it down; and, it being kept down, life and righteousness, even the righteous life, Spirit, and power of the Lord Jesus inwardly revealed, will be uppermost, and reign over it.

Perhaps these words, at present may be hard to you; but, if you come to wait on God's Holy Spirit, and to the feeling of his appearance in your heart, and learn of him to know what is good and what is evil in your words, ways, worship, yes, and in your very heart and thoughts, and also to choose the good and refuse the evil, they will grow easier and easier, and plainer and plainer, daily, as you come into the sense and experience of the things they mention. As you will find Christ, inwardly revealed in spirit, to be very properly called the Word of God, even the engrafted word which is able to save the soul; for he is quick and powerful; and sharper than any two-edged sword, able to cut down all that shall appear or rise up in the heart, to resist or oppose his work.

The Lord so guide you, manifest himself to you, help you, and lead you by his Holy Spirit and power, as that you may come undeniably to experience, and to be satisfied by him about these things. And mind not so much to know, as to be obedient and subjected to the Lord, both in your heart and in your conversation also, in the least thing that he makes manifest. The Lord lead you as he sees good, and give you faithfully to follow; for else, if the Lord should lead in anything, and you not follow in that thing, his Spirit would be grieved and vexed thereby, and your heart in danger of being hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. The Lord give you the sense and savor of these things; that you may thereby be kindled to wait on the Lord, to be led into the light of the living; that you may live and walk with him in it, who is, and dwells, and walks with his, in the light. Oh house of Jacob! Come you, let us walk in the light of the Lord, and let us come up to Zion, the holy hill of God, and to the gospel Jerusalem, that there he may teach us of his ways, and we may there learn of him to walk in his paths; for there, is the place of wisdom and true understanding, which none know but those that are taught of God.

This is in true friendship and tender love to your soul, from its Friend in truth and sincerity,

I. P.

26th of Eighth Month, 1670

LETTER XXVII

Advice and Sympathy under Trial.

To Elizabeth Walmsley

My VERY  DEAR  FRIEND,

Many are the trials, afflictions, and temptations, with which the Lord sees good to exercise us, for the purifying and making us white, that he may honor his name in us and through us; but this promise stands sure in the seed, "I will never leave you, nor forsake you." And, if our God be with us and for us, what can prevail against the work and design of his love and power towards us!

I am deeply sensible of your condition, feeling it, even in the tender and melting love of my heart towards you; and this word sprang in me to you, Look not out, but trust in the Lord, who can make things easier than they seem likely to be; and will certainly carry All through the hardest things, which he suffers to befall them.

O! the Lord keep all in his pure innocence; out of the earthly contriving wisdom, which says: Save yourself, avoid this dreadful brunt, this stroke of the cross; which it is easy to listen to, if the mind is not kept to that eye and that wisdom, which discovers the tempter, and instructs the bird to escape his snare. My dear love is to you, and to all faithful Friends. May the Lord keep you from listening to the enemy, and make you faithful to him, in the pure innocence and heavenly wisdom which is of him. For Truth triumphs over deceit, and the life of the Lamb on the cross, reigns and triumphs over death; glory to Him, who has overcome in his person, and who teaches us to overcome, through faith in his power, — and from the overflowings of the conquering life in our hearts, which first brings down what is contrary to Truth, and then reigns in the Truth.

Your Friend in the love which never dies, and in the Truth which changes not,

I. P.

Catgrove,

14th of Tenth-Month, 1670.

LETTER XXVIII

Confessing Your Hope in Christ; also the Light of Christ is not Scriptures

To Elizabeth Stonar

DEAR FRIEND,

I am sensible that the Lord has visited you with his power, reaching to your heart in the demonstration of his own Spirit, and that your heart has answered, and said in the inward of your soul: It is God's Truth indeed. Now, so far as God has reached to you, so far it behooves you to confess him, his Truth, and people before men, and to give up in obedience and subjection of spirit to the Lord. And, if you say, in the simplicity of your heart, to any that have any tenderness: Thus it is with me; I believe from my heart this or that is of God; what shall I do; shall I give up in obedience thereto, or shall I disobey the Lord, grieve his Spirit, and wound my own soul? This will reach what is of God in any; and this will wound and trouble what is not of God.

May the Lord guide you, and pity you, and help you in your straits, and doubts, and fears, and troubles, both in reference to yourself and mother. God is my witness, whom I serve in my spirit, in the gospel of his Son, that I have not sought myself, but your good; and that, not of myself neither, but in the leadings and drawings of his Holy Spirit. And I gave your husband a warning, in true and tender love; though I knew well enough, how hard it would be to his spirit in his present state, and what a bitter enemy he might become to me, for telling him the truth. I did it not unadvisedly, but in the weight of my spirit before the Lord; and I heartily wish, that he were not deceived in heart concerning his own state, but truly knew it, as it is.

Your soul's true and sincere-hearted Friend,

I. P.

POSTSCRIPT

There is light, which enlightens the soul, or it remains in darkness: "You were darkness," said the apostle, "but now are you light in the Lord." Now, no man can become light in the Lord, unless his nature and spirit is renewed, and changed out of darkness into light. Now, the question is, what this light is, and where it is to be met with. Are the Scriptures, then, this light? Or do they testify of this light? If they testify of this light, then, the light is to be come to, and the soul to be enlightened by it. And, he that comes to this light, and is enlightened by it, and walks in the, pure shinnings thereof, he becomes a child of light; but, he that is not enlightened and changed by it, is still a child of darkness, notwithstanding whatever he learns, professes, or practices, by imitation from the Scriptures. This is a weighty matter. Oh come! Be not wedded to your own ways, nor prejudiced against what God has taught others; but, let things be fairly scanned, that all things may be proved, and what is good held fast; for, Truth will not lose ground by being tried; but, darkness is afraid of the light, because it has a secret sense, that it cannot stand before it.

I. P.

16th of Twelfth Month, 1670

LETTER XXIX

The Necessities of the Walk, Scriptures, Church, Tribulation.

To Nathaniel Stonar

DEAR FRIEND,

There is something on my heart, to express to you, in love and great good-will, which is as follows. Would it not be sad, if you should perish from the Lord forever? If you err in heart from the living way, it may be so. Indeed, if your mind is not turned from darkness, inward darkness, to the inward light of God's Spirit, it cannot be otherwise. Now, if you feel the inward light, the power of the pure light, and are changed thereby, you cannot speak against that light.

There was no true religion in the apostles' days, without turning to the inward light, and to that the true ministry was sent to turn men; nor is there any true religion now, without being inwardly turned to, and walking in the same light; nor can you try any truth, or understand any Scripture correctly, but in the light of God's Spirit. No man can understand the things of God, but the Spirit of God. The Scriptures are holy words, and treat of the things of God, which no man can understand, but in a light of the same nature from which they came; and, when once a man comes to the true understanding, he soon finds that the understanding which he had of the same before, was but after the flesh, even short of the nature of the true understanding. And, Friend, consider, if your knowledge, which you have previously had, has changed, or does change the nature of your understanding and will? Or, is your old understanding and will yet remaining, notwithstanding all your knowledge and practices in religion? Oh do not dally in things of so great concernment, lest you repent too late! for, I do not tell you what I see concerning you, in the light of God's eternal Spirit; but, I would willingly have yours own eye, or rather the right eye in you, opened and brought to see.

And, consider one Scripture seriously concerning the church of Laodicea: had it not the true knowledge outwardly, and a true church state, and right ordinances?  Did it not believe in Christ, and look up to him for justification, etc. No, what did it need, as to the outward of its state? But, it needed sense, life, warmth, inwardly. So that, if you had all ordinances and truths of the gospel light outwardly; yet, if you lacked the inward power, you could not but lack the tried gold, the while raiment, and eye-salve: and so, though you might think yourselves rich, yet the shame of your nakedness would appear. Yes, indeed, the nakedness of such as are not clothed with God's Spirit, does appear to the Lord, and to the eyes and spirits of his children, which he opens in his own light, and who see with this eye ;- I say, the shame of their nakedness does appear, despite all the religious covers they can put upon themselves. Oh that you had desires, living desires, after the nature of Truth! And were acquainted with the new nature, which can be satisfied with nothing but the virtue, life, and power of Truth.

Come, Friend, wait on the Lord, to have the old nature, the old spirit, mind, wisdom, understanding, and will, broken,  -the old garment torn to pieces; that you may come to experience that which is new, pure, and living; and find the new vessel filled with that which is new; and know the virgin state of spirit, and the savor of the true ointment. For, life savors life, and death savors death, and living words are but the savor of death, to them that are out of the life; and, the living Stone, which is the foundation of life to us, and very precious, is but a stone of stumbling, and rock of offence, to them that are out of the life; and who judge of things by their apprehensions of the letter, without the spirit of life and power. As the Scribes and Pharisees formerly did, and so condemned Christ in his appearance in the flesh; those who judge after that manner now, cannot but condemn his spiritual appearance in the hearts of his children. The letter kills, the Spirit gives life. If you will have life, you must come to that which gives life. If you will come into the ministration of the new testament, you must come into the Spirit and power; and know the letter of the Scriptures, in the spirit and power which wrote them, if ever you know them correctly. Yes, if you will become a son of God, you must receive power from Christ so to do; and, if you will believe correctly, you must feel faith wrought in your heart, by that very power, which raised our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead; all other faith falls short of the nature of true faith.

If you receive from the Lord the true sense of these things, you will bless his name, for engaging my heart to write them to you; but, if you read them, out of that which gives the true understanding, they cannot be of advantage to you. But, whatever entertainment they have with you, yet, my judgment is with the Lord, and my work and labor of love with my God, who is my strength and joy; in whom my soul rests in peace, in the bosom of my Beloved. And, Oh ! that you also might feel quickenings of life and true leadings; and thus be acquainted with that faithful travel, which leads there. Your Friend, in the heartiness of true love, so far as the Lord pleases to make use of me towards you,

I. P.

7th of the Fourth Month, 1671.

POSTSCRIPT

The apostle speaks of the state of the Gentiles, before they were turned from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God; that their understanding was darkened, being alienated from the life of God, through the ignorance that was in them, because of the hardness of their heart; not that that which might be known of God, was not manifest in them; but their ignorance was, because of their hardness, in not minding it, not turning to it, and so, they became alienated from the life, and their understanding not opened by it. Now, in this state; men are without God, without Christ, strangers to the covenant of promise, and without any true hope of salvation; and this state, they are as truly in, who get a form of godliness without the power, as the very natural heathen. For, nothing makes a true Christian, but the life and power: and he, that does not hear the voice of Christ's Spirit in his heart, is no better than a heathen and a publican. Yes, any church, built up out of the life and power, (no, a church, though built by the power, yet, if not preserved in the same,) is not better than a synagogue of Satan. They that say, they are Jews, but are not so; ministers of Christ, but are not, and do lie; alas! what are they? Oh how precious is life! How precious is the power of God, in which the churches of old stood, and the true churches at this day stand in! It is precious, to know the Spirit of the living God, to be begotten by him in the life, which is true and pure, to be separated from death and the power thereof, and to be married to life and the power thereof, — to be married to the conquering Lamb, who triumphed over sin and death in his body of flesh, and, by his Spirit and power, delivers his spouse from the strength and dominion of them. And, it is precious, to walk with the Lamb, and to follow the Lamb wherever he goes; who always leads out of sin and unrighteousness, into ways of purity and righteousness, into the path which is prepared for the ransomed, where there is no danger of erring, — no, not so much as to the wayfaring ones, though fools, Isa 35:8.

Oh! is it not precious, experimentally to read that Scripture, and to be able in true understanding to say: The way of life is easy, ‘the yoke easy, the burden easy,' the commandment not grievous; that being brought down, and subdued in me, yes, removed and cast out, to which it was hard. Alas! men building in the flesh, and after their carnal apprehensions of things,- how loathsome is it! But, God's building, raised in the light and life of his pure Spirit, how glorious, how beautiful, how lovely is it, even in the eye of God himself! "You are all fair, my love, there is no spot in you." Song 4:7. Into your holy building, Oh God! into your heavenly building, into the spiritual Jerusalem, which you rear and build up in the Spirit, no unclean or defiled thing can enter; nor is there any room there, for that which loves and makes a lie! -Without, indeed, are swine and dogs, vulturous eyes and crooked serpents, who make a show of what they are not, and lay claim to that which belongs not to them; but, within, are the children, within is the heavenly birth, even the new creation of God in Christ Jesus. For, God does not strip his people naked, and gather them out of the spirit of this world, that they should be empty and desolate forever; but, he gathers them into, and fills them with his own Spirit, fills them with light, fills them with life, fills them with holiness, fills them with righteousness, fills them with peace and joy, in believing and obeying the gospel! And, in this Spirit, is the kingdom known, which is not of this world, — the inward kingdom, the spiritual kingdom, the everlasting kingdom!- where the everlasting throne is near, and the everlasting power revealed! The Lord God Omnipotent reigns in the hearts of his! And other lords do not reign, but their horns are broken — and the horn of God's Anointed exalted, who sits ruling as King on his holy hill of Zion! - They that have suffered with him, and gone through great tribulation, do reign with him; blessed be his name forever!

I. P.

10th of Fourth Month.

LETTER XXX

Truth in the Inward Parts

To Widow Hemmings

DEAR FRIEND,

I think it has been some time since I heard from you. I remember the sweet and precious savor that was upon your spirit, the last time I was with you, with my dear Friend, J. C. It has been my hope and desire, that the Lord might preserve you in it.

The Truth in the inward parts, is of God; that is the thing which all are to mind; and in which, acceptance with God is witnessed. Out of the Truth in the inward parts, there is no acceptance with God, let men profess what they will or can. In the Truth, there is always acceptance; for God never disowned it, nor any that are in it. Here, the flesh and blood, which give life, are fed on; here, the bread which comes — down from heaven, and the water of life, are known; but, out of this, they are not, nor can they be known.

Oh my Friend! that you might feel more and more the Truth in the inward parts, and be more and more established in it. What is the outward feeding, or outward supper?  It is but a shadow. The feeding inward, or the supper inward, is the substance. And, as the day dawns, and the day-star arises in your heart, the shadows will flee away, and the substance is discovered, owned, and delighted in by you. The shadows reach but to the outward part, but the ministration of life, the ministration of the substance, reach to the seed; and, you must be more and more transplanted into the seed, that Christ may be formed in you, and you formed in him; and so grow up into his heavenly nature and image, - out of the earthly, out of the natural. Oh, the Lord God prosper his own seed and holy plantation in your heart; and keep you in the meek, lowly, humble, poor, and tender spirit, unto which is his mercy and blessing.

I expected to have heard from you, or at least from your daughter S., before this time, supposing I had a promise to that from her. The Lord uphold, preserve, and bless her. Let her not look out, but only look within, what the will of the Lord is; and mind nothing else; and it will be well with her.

My dear love is both to you and her, who am your sincere Friend, .

I. P.

4th of Ninth Month, 1673.

LETTER XXXI

Deliverance from Spiritual Enemies by Christ; between outward and inward.

DEAR FRIEND,

For, in those true desires, which I observe in your heart towards the Lord, you are, and cannot but be dear unto me. I had a desire to have stayed a little while with you, the last time I passed through Uxbridge, but was prevented.

The occasion of my writing to you, was, something which was on my heart towards you.

Would you know the Lord in the gospel covenant, and would you walk with him within it? I know you would. Would you have sin destroyed in you, and Christ reign in your heart? Would you fight against your enemies, to overcome them, and so run the race, as certainly to obtain the everlasting prize, and eternal weight of glory? Oh! Then, mind Truth in the inward parts, even the grace and truth, which are by Jesus Christ; to whom God has given power, and who gives power to his, by the grace of his Holy Spirit, over sin and corruption in the inward parts. Did not God conquer the enemies of the outward Jews in Egypt, in the wilderness, and in the good land also! And shall he not do so inwardly, for the inward Jews? There are enemies in Egypt; in the land that is, as I may say, wholly dark, and under the oppression of spiritual Pharaoh. There are enemies in that heart, which is as a wilderness and solitary place; and there are enemies in that heart, which is in some measure renewed, and made good and honest. Now, all the spiritual enemies, all the enemies of a man's own house, are to be destroyed by the power of the Lord Jesus Christ, working by his grace in the heart; which, being received, subjected to, dwelled in, and obeyed, brings deliverance and salvation from them all. And, when salvation is brought home to the heart, and wrought out there by the Lord, it is to be enjoyed and abode in, and the soul is not to return back again into captivity; but, being delivered out of the hands of its inward and spiritual enemies, by the holy, inward, and spiritual covenant, is to serve God in the dominion of his Son's life, in holiness and righteousness all its days here upon the earth.

Oh my Friend! mind this precious Truth inwardly, this precious grace inwardly, the precious life inwardly, the precious light inwardly, the precious power inwardly, the inward word of life, the inward voice of the Shepherd in the heart, the inward seed, the inward salt, the inward leaven, the inward pearl, etc. whereby Christ effects this. Distinguish between words without concerning the thing, and the thing itself within; and wait and labor, then, to know, understand, and be guided by, the motives, leadings, drawings, teachings, quickenings, etc. of the thing itself within. And, take heed of being offended, because of anything, either within or without; for, offences will come, but blessed was he, that was not offended at Christ outwardly in the days of his flesh; and blessed is he, that is not offended at his inward Truth, and inward way of appearance in the day of his Spirit. Moses, that precious servant of the Lord, spoke  unadvisedly with his lips; how easy is it, then, for those, who come not near Moses’ state, so to do; but, wait on God, that you may distinguish between what Truth speaks in any of us; and what any of us may unadvisedly speak, out of the Truth, — if we stand not upon the watch, and our words are not seasoned with God's light and his grace. For, praying to God, as God's Spirit leads and gives ability, and watching unto prayer, and seeking opportunities both alone and in our families, that God may open our hearts, and breathe upon us, and for frequent and diligent reading of the Holy Scriptures none can testify from the Truth against these things; though, against men's dead and formal performing of these things, there is a living testimony. Now, take heed of mistaking the testimony in any; or of being stumbled, if any go beyond their due bounds in their testimony. O my Friend! how precious is the thing, beyond all words or testimonies! Oh that you may come to know that in yourself, and to be sensible of God's ministering by it to you, and increasing it in you! that you may experimentally feel the seed in you, and find it grow more and more, until it come to be a tree; and then, sit under its shadow, and be delighted with its defense, and partake of its sap and fruit. Oh that, every day, you might have a sense of the life itself, the Truth itself, the power itself, the wisdom itself, the righteousness itself! And, that you might find the Lord Jesus Christ both unclothing and clothing you, inwardly, sensibly, and experimentally; that you might find him taking away your sin, your iniquities, your unrighteousness, both within and without also, and filling you, and clothing you with his righteousness; that so, in God's sight, and by his putting on you, and forming in you, you might find your heart filled and covered with the nature, image and Spirit of his dear Son; that you might, indeed, put off the old man with his nature and deeds, and put on the new man, and know the renewing and new creating in Christ Jesus, in the spirit of your mind; and so, have a certain understanding of the Truth, as it in Jesus, and as he manifests it, gives power to it, and causes it to work in your heart. This is the desire of my soul for you: the Lord guide you to it, and remove all lets and hindrances out of your way.

My dear and true love is to your husband. The Lord manifest his pure, and living Truth in both your hearts, and gather both your minds thereunto, and make you one in it. Your Friend in Truth, who heartily wishes well to your soul.

I. P.

Grove Place,

17th of Ninth Month, 1673

LETTER XXXII

Encouragement to Faithfulness under Apprehensions of Suffering

To Widow Hemmings

My DEAR FRIEND,

I have not forgotten you; but have often inquired after you, and many times breathed for you. O my Friend look not out at what stands in the way; what if it look dreadfully as a lion, is not the Lord stronger than the mountains of prey! But look in, where the law of life is written, and the will of the Lord revealed, that you may know what is the Lord's will concerning you; and then, show yourself a faithful daughter of Abraham, and be like Sarah, not terrified with any amazement. As soon as I had read your letter, this arose in my heart to you, as God's counsel, proper to your state. Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. Be not straitened in your spirit, as fearing what you shall suffer for Christ's sake; or, as if God would not stand by you, or carry you through. If your sufferings are the worst possible, yet he is faithful, who has promised you an hundred fold in this life. O! What can hurt you, if your God stands by you? Be faithful to his testimony in your place, and he will stand by you. Take heed of joining with dead worships, which the seed of God in you disowns, and cannot relish; but, meekly and in fear, testify against, and abstain from, what you feel not to be of the Lord.

This was what was in my heart to you at present, in true and tender love, and in melting desires for you, that the Lord may guide and preserve you, and give you of the Lamb's courage and strength, who by meekness and sufferings is now to conquer. What if the wicked nature, which is as a sea casting out mire and dirt, rage against you! There is a river, a sweet, still, flowing river, the streams whereof will make glad your heart. And, learn but in quietness and stillness to retire to the Lord, and wait upon him; in whom you shall feel peace and joy, in the midst of your trouble from the cruel and vexatious spirit of this world. So, wait to know your work and service to the Lord every day, in your place and station; and the Lord make you faithful in it, and you will want neither help, support, nor comfort.

Your Friend, in the truest, sincerest, and most constant love,

I. P.
London, 1st of Ninth Month, 1675

LETTER XXXIII

Exhortation to Die, Wait, Feel the Seed

To Dulcibella Laiton,

DEAR FRIEND, Concerning whom I feel a travail, this is the sense of my heart in relation to you.

There is a pure seed of life, which God has sown in you. Oh that it might come through, and come over all that is above it, and contrary to it ! And for that end wait daily to feel it, and to feel your mind subdued by it, and joined to it. Take heed of looking out, in the reasonings of your mind, but dwell in the feeling sense of life; and then, that will arise in you more and more, which makes truly wise, and gives power, and brings into the holy authority and dominion of life. Many that have been long traveling, are now entering into their possessions and inheritance, which the Lord is daily enlarging in them, and to them. Oh that your lot may be among them, inwardly witnessed and possessed by you! Prize inward exercises, grief, and troubles; and let faith and patience have their perfect work in them. Oh desire to be good, upright, and perfect in God's sight! and wait to feel the life, Spirit, and power, which makes so. Come out of the knowledge and comprehension about things, into the feeling life; and let that be your knowledge and wisdom, which you receive and retain in the feeling life; and that will lead you into the footsteps of the flock, without reasoning, consulting, or disputing. O! Wait to be taught and enabled by God to fetch right steps in your travels; and to take up the cross and despise the shame in every thing, in which that wisdom, will, and mind, which is to be crucified, would be judge; for, it will judge amiss, and lead aside, if it be hearkened to by you. The Lord show you the snares and dangers to which you are liable, and lead you out of them; that whatever hinders may be discovered to you, and your mind singly joined to that which discovers, that so it may be removed out of the way; and all crooked things be made straight in you, and the rough plain, and the high low, and the low high, and the weak and foolish strong and wise, and the wise and strong weak and foolish. O! wait to feel and understand my words, that your conversation may be ordered correctly by the power and wisdom of God; and that you may inwardly come to witness the glorious coming of Him, who is the salvation of God, and in whom you shall not fail to see the salvation of God.

You must be very low, weak, and foolish, that the seed may arise in you to exalt you, and become your strength and wisdom; and you must die exceedingly, again and again, more and more, inwardly and deeply! that your life may spring up from the holy root and stock; and you may be more and more gathered into it, spring up into it, and live alone in the life, virtue, and power thereof. The travel is long, the exercises many, the snares, temptations, and dangers many; and yet the mercy, relief, and help, is great also.

O! that you may feel your calling and election, your sinking down, springing up, and establishment, in the pure seed, in the light and righteousness of that over all; that you may sing songs of degrees to the Redeemer of Israel, and may daily more and more partake of and rejoice in him, who is our joy, and the crown thereof.

Your Friend, in the most sincere, tender love,

I. P.

11th of Fifth Month, 1677

LETTER XXXIV

On Decay of  First Love, with a desire for anything in the world being lust and sin.

To George Winkfield

DEAR FRIEND,

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

 

One is, that saying of yours about your love to Truth and Friends, as if it were as great as ever it was.

Now, I entreat you to weigh this thing, and to wait on God to know, whether it is really so or not; which you may understand by this: if you are as really desirous, and watchful, and singly to know and obey the commands of Truth as ever, then, your love to it is as great as formerly in its first heat and zeal; otherwise, not. " He that has my commandments and keeps them," said Christ.." he it is that loves 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 keep his commandments. 1 John  2:3.

The other is, that you said, your heart is not hardened. O! consider this seriously; for, if your heart is hardened, and you not sensible of it, your estate is exceeding dangerous. Now, if the Lord by his power has preserved you out of that which hardens the heart; then, without doubt, your heart is not hardened: but, if the enemy has tempted you to let in reasonings into your mind, against anything that is indeed of God; and you have run into any practices contrary to Truth, and justify them in your heart, from any reasonings and thoughts the enemy has suggested to and strengthened your mind in; then, without doubt, your heart is so far hardened. It is impossible for you, or anyone else, to let in that which hardens, and not be hardened. O! Mind that precious advice of the Apostle, Heb 3:13. Mark, sin deceives, lust deceives, desire after anything that pleases the flesh, and is desirable to the worldly nature, deceives. And, whoever is deceived by it, and lets it in, (mind, he does 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 entertain 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 advises them to exhort one another unto, lest the enemy at anytime 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 does. Oh, G. W.! Consider, as before the Lord, whether your walking is answerable to truth, so far as you know Truth; and whether you are willingly ignorant of anything, which the good God is willing and ready to give you the knowledge of, that you may 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 you, from him who has always been your Friend.

I. P.

11th of Twelfth Month, 1677

LETTER XXXV

The Requirements of GOD, Simply Stated
(This letter also appears as a prelude to them all.)

To Sir William Drake (so styled).

FIRST. There is a God, a holy, righteous, living, powerful God, who made heaven and earth, and all things in it; and, at last, made man in his own image, and set him over the works of his hands, to have dominion, and to rule in his wisdom and power over them; and to guide, order, and make use of them, to the glory of Him that made them. Now, in this state, God was pleased and took delight in the works of his hands, and in man above all.

Secondly. Man, sinning against his Maker, lost this image, which was his glory, and became brutish in understanding, and an enemy to God in his mind, and liable to the wrath of God's holy and righteous nature.

Thirdly. There is no  reconciliation to be had between God and man anymore, but by the change of this nature in man; for, God is unchangeable, he is light, he is life, he is holiness unchangeable and will never be reconciled to, or have fellowship with darkness, with that which is dead and unholy, — which man in his fallen estate is, until he is begotten again to God, changed and renewed from his evil and sinful nature, into a good and holy nature, and until he is turned from evil works, and know what it is to be the workmanship of God, created anew unto good works.

Fourthly. Nothing can produce this change in man, but the spirit and power of Christ, but the grace and truth which is by Jesus Christ. Therefore, a man needs to be sure that he receives this Spirit and power, and that he feels the operative, changing virtue of it, and be really changed by it, being created anew, [the new creature], begotten anew to God, in the holiness and righteousness of Truth, a son and servant to the living God; — or he can never know what belongs to true reconciliation with God, and to fellowship with Him in the light and life of his Son.

Fifthly. All the religions and professions upon the face of the earth, which fall short of this Spirit, life, and power, and in which this new creation in Christ Jesus is not witnessed, nor power received to abstain from what is evil, and to become sons to God, - are not the pure, powerful, gospel religion, in which the divine virtue and power of life operates; but, that which men in the earthly wisdom have formed without life. And, all religions that have but a form of godliness, and not the power, are to be turned away from, and witnessed against, by such as are called forth to be witnesses to the true, gospel religion and way of worship, which stands in Spirit, life, and power.

Sixthly. This religion and worship, which stands in Spirit, life, and power, is the religion and worship, which Christ set up about sixteen hundred years ago. John 4:23-24, 1 Cor 4:20, Rom 6:4. And, this is the religion which God has revived and set up again, as they that receive the gospel now preach it; and, believing in the power, which is both outwardly testified of, and also inwardly revealed, they have the witness of it in their own hearts. Rev 14:6-7, 1 John 5:11-12, Isa 50:1. Oh how sweet are these Scriptures, when they are properly read and correctly understood, the Lord giving the right understanding, and leading into the true experience of them!

Friend,

You expressed to one of my youngest sons, as he related to me, that you had a desire I should visit you, that you might have some discourse with me about religion. That is the most profitable kind of discourse that can be, if it is ordered in the fear of the Lord, and in a weighty sense and dread of him. I am very serious in reference to religion, and would not in it mistake or miscarry, by any means; and, if I might be helpful to you, or to any man, as to the truth and power of religion, it would be matter of gladness to my heart, and of praising and blessing the Lord, in the sense of his stretching forth his hand towards the saving of any. Now, that our meeting and discourse may be the more solemn and advantageous, I have sent you a few plain propositions to consider of; which I do not only find signified of in the Scriptures, but the Lord has also written them on my heart; and, if they are plain to you, and you are also in the serious sense of them, it may tend towards the making of our discourse the more easy and profitable. These are the main things; and he that is rightly grounded, I mean, in the true and sensible experience of them in his heart, cannot miss of God's guidance to make a safe and happy progress in it; providing he is daily waiting upon the Lord, to be taught and led by Him, further and further, into the life, Spirit, and power of Truth; so that, he shall be taught of God to know his Son Jesus, and the freedom which is by the Truth as it is in Jesus, daily more and more; which it is my soul's sincere and single desire, that you, your wife, and family, may experience and happily partake of.

O what a glorious state was man once in, before his transgressing the holy law of God! but, when he sinned, how did he fall short of the glory of God ! Yet, as he hears His voice and follows Him, that leads out of sin into the image of God, into the holiness and righteousness of Truth; how he is brought back by the Lord, and how he returns, in the blessed leadings of God's blessed Spirit, into the glory of God again! Read 2 Cor 3:18; and, Oh that you may realistically and sensibly know what it means by actual experience, not imagined or presumed! I acknowledge your kindness, and  desire that you may obtain from God the knowledge of himself and his Son, which is experienced, by those who  receive it, to be, indeed, life eternal.

I. P.

This was written in true love and goodwill, and in the fear of the Lord, and in the springings and openings of his life in my heart.

19th of Fifth Month, 1678

LETTER XXXVI

The Heart to Be Cleansed and Fully Taken by Christ

To S. W.

DEAR FRIEND,

I ever had a love to you, and a deep sense of the serious work of God upon your heart, and the upright desires of your soul after Him. And, that the Lord should yet preserve you alive, in the midst of so great and languishing weakness, is wonderful in my eye, and, I hope, has a tendency of some honor to his name, and good to you. I have often inquired of late concerning you, and was glad to understand what I inquired after, by a letter from your own hand; upon reading of it in the retired sense of my heart, I felt love arise to you, and breathing to the Lord for you; and, Oh! that you may fully feel, and be joined to the seed of life, the seed of the kingdom, which our Lord Jesus Christ, in the days of his flesh, did not disdain to be a preacher of. O my dear Friend! let not any part of your life lie in notions above the seed, but let it all lie in the seed itself, in your waiting upon the Lord for its arisings in you, and in your feeling its arisings. Oh what becomes of flesh, and self, and self-righteousness, when this lives in the heart! My religion, which I now daily bless my God for, began in this seed; which, when I first felt, and discerningly knew from the Lord, my cry to him was: Oh this is it I have longed after and waited for! Oh unite my soul to you in this forever! This is your Son's gift from you, your Son's grace, your Son's Truth, your Son's life, your Son's Spirit! I desire no more, than to be made nothing in myself, that this may be all in me; and, what I meet with and witness here, what I feel the Lord Jesus Christ to be made to me here, none knows, or possibly can know, but they that have felt the pure power of the Spirit of life, and have been led by it into the same holy and blessed experience. Ah! Sin has no share here, in this blessed seed; but is excluded, by the life and power which is stronger than it. Here, Christ is formed in the soul, of a truth. Here, the black garments of unrighteousness, (yes, of man's righteousness too), are stripped off and the white raiment is put on. Here, the holy image is brought forth in the heart, even the image of the dear Son, which partakes of the divine nature of the Father. Here, the soul is newly created in Christ Jesus. Here, is no deceit of any kind met with, but only truth from God, even the true life, light, virtue, power, of the Lord Jesus Christ, as experientially felt in the heart, and as effectually operating there, as ever the power of sin did. Oh, that you might daily discern this, and feel this to grow up in you more and more, and die to all notions, even of the heavenly things themselves, out of this; that your soul may fully live in the life, Spirit, and power of the Lord Jesus Christ; and nothing but his life, Spirit, and power, may live in you; to the glory of God the Father, and to the great joy and gladdening of your heart in his presence! Amen.

Your Friend, in the true, sincere love of the heavenly, everlasting seed.

I. P.

13th of Twelfth Month, 1678

LETTER XXXVII

The Necessity and Benefits of Affliction

To the Lady Conway

DEAR FRIEND,

In tender love, and in a sense of your sore afflictions and exercises, I do most dearly salute you; desiring for you, that the work of the Lord in your heart may not  be interrupted by any devices of the enemy; but, that it may go on and prosper in you, in the springing up of the pure seed of life in your heart, and in the powerful overturning, by the mighty arm of the Lord, of all that is contrary in you. Oh that you may daily feel that holy birth of life, which is begotten by the Father, and lives by faith in him! — I say, O that you may daily feel it living in you, 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 your faith increases also, it will bear you up in the midst of them. I would willingly have it go well with you, and that the Reprover would miss nothing in you that should be reproved; nor the Comforter be missed in any respect in which your soul wants comfort; nor the holy Counselor and Adviser be missed in any strait or difficulty which the wise and tender God orders to befall you. Ah! That you might come to feel the daily wasting of sin and death, and the daily springing of life and holiness in your heart. The pearl is worth thousands of worlds, with the greatest earthly glory and pleasure imaginable. Oh that you may 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 you, and show you the glory of it, and set your feet towards it; and put into your heart to seek of him the way to it, renewing you more and more in the spirit of your mind, whereby the way comes clearly to be discerned, and faithfully walked in; that you may witness, daily, the everlasting covenant of life and peace, even, the sure mercies of David.

The desire of my soul is, that however grievous  your afflictions are, they be only momentary, and may prepare you for, and work out, an eternal weight of glory, for your soul to inherit in another world, forever. I remain a sympathizer with you in your sufferings; who desires all the advantage and blessings from the God of my life, may come to you, which hardships, temptations, and trials, prepare the heart and make way for.

I. P.

14th of Twelfth Month, 1678

POSTSCRIPT.

My dear Friend,

Some time after writing the foregoing, this arose in me to you. If the Lord in your waiting upon him to search and try your heart and ways, shall please to show you anything amiss in it; mind this counsel on my heart to you: Do not look at it too much, on the one hand, or excuse it, on the other hand; but sink down beneath yourself, retiring there, where you may receive from the Lord true judgment concerning it, and also strength against it. [Focus on what shows you your problem, not the problem; for what shows you your sin, is the same that will take it away]. And know this, in the holy experience; that you must be weakened by the Lord, and be contented in or with your weak and distressed estate, if you would receive mercy and strength from him. And the more you are weakened and distressed, the more you are fitted for, and the more abundantly shall you partake of, his mercy and strength; waiting upon him in the meek, quiet, patient, and resigned spirit, which he will not fail to work your mind into; that, in the outcome of all, you may reap the quiet fruits of righteousness and heavenly peace from his hand. Amen, so be it from the Lord to your soul.

LETTER XXXVIII

On the Benefit of Chastening by Afflictions

To the Lady Conway.

DEAR FRIEND,

As I was lately retired in spirit and waiting upon the Lord, having a sense on me of your long, sore, and deep affliction and distress; there arose a Scripture in my heart to lay before you, namely, Heb 12:5-7, which, I entreat you, to call for a Bible, and hear read, before you proceed to what follows. O my Friend! after it has pleased the Lord in tender mercy to visit us, and turn our  minds from the world and ourselves towards him, and to beget and nourish that which is pure and living, of himself, in us ; yet, despite this, there remains some measure at first, yes, and perhaps for a long time, which is to be searched out by the light of the Lord, and brought down and subdued by his afflicting hand. When there is, indeed, something of a holy will formed in the day of God's power; and the soul, in some measure, begotten and brought forth to live to God, in the heavenly wisdom; yet, all the earthly will and wisdom is not thereby presently removed; but, there are hidden things of the old nature and spirit, still remaining in you which, perhaps, appear not, but sink inward into their root, that they may save their life; which man cannot possibly find out in his own heart, but as the Lord reveals them to him. But, how does the Lord find them out? Oh consider! His “fire is in Zion, and his furnace in Jerusalem." By his casting into the furnace of affliction, the fire searches. The deep, sore, distressing affliction, which rends and tears the very inwards, finds out both the seed and the chaff, purifying the pure gold and consuming the dross; and then, at length, the quiet state is witnessed, and the quiet fruit of righteousness brought forth by the searching and consuming nature and operation of the fire. Oh that your soul may be tried unto victory over all that is not of the pure life in you! and, that you may wait to feel the pure seed, or measure of life in you, and die into the seed, feeling death unto all that is not of the seed in you and, that you may feel life-healing, refreshment, support, and comfort from the God of your life, in the seed; — and nowhere else, nor at any time, but all the Lord pleases to administer it to you there. Oh! the Lord guide you daily, and keep your mind to him; at least, looking towards the holy place of the springing of his life and power in your heart. Look unto him; help, pity, salvation, will arise in his due time; but, it will not arise from anything you can do or think; and faith will spring and patience be given, and hope in the tender Father of mercy, and a meek and quiet spirit will be witnessed; and the Lamb's nature springing up and opening in you, from his precious seed, which will excel in nature, kind, degree, and virtue, all the faith, patience, hope, meekness, etc., which you, or any else, otherwise can attain unto. O! look not at your pain or sorrow, however great; but look from them, look off them, look beyond them, to the Deliverer, whose power is over them, and whose loving, wise, and tender Spirit is able to do you good by them. And, if the outward afflictions work out an exceeding weight of glory, Oh what shall the inward do for those, who are humbly, brokenly, and faithfully exercised before the Lord by them? O! Wait to feel the seed, and the cry of your soul in the breathing life of the seed, to its Father, with its sweet, kindly, and natural subjection to him. And, wait for the risings of the power in your heart, in the Father's seasons, and for faith in the power; that you may feel inward healing, of all the inward wounds which the Lord makes in your soul, through his love to you for your good.

If you will receive the kingdom that cannot be shaken, you must wait to have that discovered in you, which may be shaken; and the Lord arising terribly to shake the earth, and it removed out of its place as a cottage, and the heavens also rolled up like a scroll. And, while the Lord is doing this, he will be hiding you in the hollow of his hand, (your mind still retiring to the seed), and will in these troublesome and dismal times, inwardly be forming the new heavens and the new earth, in which, when they are brought forth and established, dwells righteousness. The Lord lead you, day by day, in the right way, and keep your mind stayed upon him, in whatever befalls you; that the belief of his love and hope in his mercy, when you are at the lowest ebb, may keep up your head above the billows; and that you may go on in the disciple's state, learning righteousness and holiness of Him, who teaches to deny and put off unholiness and unrighteousness, and to know, embrace, and put on newness of life, and the holiness and righteousness thereof.

The Lord God of my life be with you, preserving and ordering your heart for the great day of his love and mercy; which will come in the appointed season, when the heart is fully exercised and fitted by the Lord for it, and will not tarry.

I. P

LETTER XXXIX

The Promises, Changes of Your Heart, Engrafting Him in You

Dear S. W.

I have ever had a love to you, and have many times been filled with earnest desires for you; that you may know the Lord in his own pure teachings, and travel into, and dwell in, the fullness of the kingdom of his dear Son; and that you may be blessed with spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ. In order to arrive here, you 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 purge out, and the mystery of godliness opened and established in your heart, in the room thereof; — Christ formed inwardly; the soul formed, yes, and created inwardly anew in him; a real transplanting into his death, and a real feeling of his springing and rising life; and all experience of the sweetness, safety, and virtue of his rising life; — and daily to be sensible, what it is to lie down in the holy, quickening power, and to rise again in the risings of the life and power; and so, be only what you are made and preserved to be, in the light, grace, life, virtue, and power of the Lord Jesus Christ; and to feel him remove anything that is unrighteous, and clothing you 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 excellence 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 you may 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 you; and take heed of running into the outward practices 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, Yes, Satan trod under foot, by the God of peace; who would have his children dwell in the sweetness and fullness 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 yes 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; yes, also putting 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? Yes, 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. Oh; Yes, 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 in it; and, they that are kept undefiled in it, taste the sweetness, blessedness, purity, and holy pleasure thereof.

I would willingly have my own soul and yours, 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." Psa 18:21-23. Oh! this is precious, when a man comes to know his iniquity, brought down and subdued, in which the enemy's strength lies as to him, and whereby the enemy has most advantage to tempt and gain ground on him. 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 virtue of the Holy Spirit and power, so as the wicked one cannot touch him, nor draw him to touch any unclean thing. If that be indeed put off in which the enemy's power lies; and that indeed put on, in which the strength of the Lord Jesus is revealed; and the soul be really in the possession of, and abide in this state; how can it but be 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, does 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 passes all understanding, keeping the heart and mind through Christ Jesus? Oh my Friend! There is an engrafting 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 unto perfection. Oh may you experience all these things; and, that you may so do, 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 you, and nothing else. And so, sink very low, and become very little, and know little;.. Yes, know no power to believe, act, or suffer anything for God, but as it is given you, 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 presume on the basis of  notion; but feel the thing; and know your heart more and more ploughed up by the Lord, that his seed's grace may grow up in you more and more, and you may daily feel your heart as a garden, more and more enclosed, watered, dressed, and delighted in by him.

This is a salutation of love from your Friend in the Truth, which lives and changes not.

I. P.

27th of Twelfth Month, 1678

LETTER XL

Counsel to One Tossed as with Tempests

DEAR FRIEND,

Your condition cannot but be weak and dark, until the light of life arise in you, and the power of the Lord overcome and subdue the power of darkness, which strives to keep the seed of life in the grave and bond of death.

It is the Lord's mercy, to give you breathings after life, and cries unto him against that which oppresses you; and happy will you be, when he shall fill your soul with that, which he has given you to breathe after. Only, let your heart wait for strength to trust him with the season; for, his long tarrying is your salvation, and the destruction of those enemies, which, while any strength remains in them, will never allow you and your God to dwell uninterruptedly together. Therefore, they must needs die, and He who has the power to kill them, knows the way; which, to the appearing of your sense, will be as if he meant to kill the life of your soul, and not of them. But, lie still under his hand, and be content to be unable to judge concerning his ways and workings in your heart; and you shall at times feel an inward leaven of life from his Holy Spirit, by which he will change and transform your spirit into his likeness, in some measure, for the present. And, though it is quickly gone again, and the whole land so overspread with enemies, that there is no sight of redemption or the Redeemer left, but the soul in a worse condition than before; yet, be not troubled. For, if troubles abound, and there is tossing, and storms, and tempests, and no peace, nor anything visible left to support; yet, lie still, and sink beneath, until the secret hope stirs, which will stay the heart in the midst of all these; until the Lord administers comfort, who knows how and what relief to give to the weary traveler, that knows not where it is, nor which way to look, nor where to expect a path.

How shall I speak to you, how shall I mourn over you?  Oh that you may be upheld to the day of God's mercy to your soul! and be gathered, out of all such knowledge, as you can comprehend or contain in what is natural, into the feeling of life; that you may know the difference, between living upon something received from God, and, having God live with you, and administer life to you at his pleasure; you being kept in the nothingness, emptiness, poverty and perfect resignation of spirit.

This counsel is to you, through a poor, weak vessel,

I. P.

LETTER XLI

Encouragement under Trials of the Cross of Christ.

WHO is able to undergo the crosses and afflictions, either inward or outward, which befall those, whom God draws out of the spirit of this world and path of destruction, into the way of eternal rest and peace. Yet, the Lord is able to uphold that which feels its weakness, and daily waits on him for support, under the heaviness of the cross.

I know, dear heart, your outward trials cannot but be sharp and bitter; and I know also, that the Lord is able to sustain you under him, and cause you to stand your ground; that you give no advantage to that spirit, which would draw away from the Lord, and from the way of life and happiness. Oh that you could dwell in the knowledge and sense of this, even that the Lord beholds your sufferings with an eye of pity; and is able, not only to uphold you under them, but also to do you good by them; and to bring forth that life and wisdom in you by means thereof, to which he will give dominion over that spirit which grieves and afflicts you, in his due season. Therefore, grieve not at your lot, be not discontented, look not out at the “hardness" of your condition; but, when the storm and matters of vexation are sharp, look up to Him who can give meekness and patience, can lift up your head over all, and cause your life to grow, and be a gainer by all. If the Lord God did not help us by his mighty arm, how often should we fall and perish! and, if the Lord God help you proportionally to your condition of affliction and distress, you will have no cause to complain, but to bless his name. He is exceedingly good, and gracious, and tender-hearted, and does not despise the afflictions of the afflicted, for his name's sake, in any kind.

This is in tender love towards you, with breathings to my Father, that his pleasant plant may not be crushed in you, by the foot of pride and violence; but may overgrow it, and flourish the more because of it. From your truly loving Friend in the Truth, and for the Truth's sake,

I. P.

LETTER XLII

On being Offended with those who fall into Temptation

IT is of the infinite mercy and compassion of the Lord, that His pure love visits any of us; and, it is by the preservation of  His love alone, that we stand.

If he leaves us at any time, but one moment, what are We? and who is there —  that has not done something deserving of  His departure? Let him throw the first stone at him that falls.

In the Truth itself in the living power and virtue, there is no offence; but, that part which is not perfectly redeemed, has still matter for the temptation to work upon, and may be taken in the snare. Let him that stands, take heed lest he fall; and, in the bowels of pity, mourn over and wait for the restoring of him that is fallen. That which is so apt to be offended, is the same with that which falls. Oh! do not reason in the high-mindedness, against any that turn aside from the pure Guide; but fear, lest the unbelieving and fleshly wise part get up in you also. O know the weakness of the creature in the withdrawals of the life! and the strength of the enemy in that hour! and the free grace and mercy which alone can preserve! and you will rather wonder how any can stand, rather than be critical of  some that fall.

When the pure springs of life open in the heart, the enemy immediately looks for his opportunity to get an entrance; and many times finds entrance soon after the soul is confident and not suspecting him, having lately felt such mighty, unconquerable strength; and yet, how often then does he get in, and smites the life down to the ground! and, what may he not do with the creature, unless the Lord graciously helps him! Oh! great is the mystery of godliness, the way of life narrow, the travel to the land of rest long, hard, and sharp; it is easy to miscarry, it is easy stepping "aside,” at any time; it is easy losing the Lord's glorious presence; unless the defense about it, by his Almighty arm, is kept up. There is a time for the Lord's taking down the fence from his own vineyard, because of transgression, and then, the wild boar may easily break in. Ah! who tastes not of this, in some measure! and what hinders, that he tastes not of it in a greater measure?

I. P.

Ah! turn in from the fleshly wisdom and reasonings, unto the pure river of life itself; and wait there, to have that judged which has taken offence; lest, if it grow stronger in you, it draws you from the life, which alone is able to preserve you; and so, you also fall!

This is in dear love to you: retire from that part which looks out, and feel the inward virtue of that which can restore and preserve you.

LETTER XLIII

The Mind may be stayed in Peace amidst the Enemy’s Accusations

To Widow Hemmings

My DEAR FRIEND,

Whom I have always truly and faithfully loved as in the sight of the Lord, and to whom my love in the Lord still continues.

Since I heard of your illness and weakness, by M. S. whom I wished to visit you, I have had an earnest desire to see you; and have been considering how to effect it, but cannot with any convenience at present, as my Friend T. E., the bearer hereof, can further inform you. But, the desires of my heart to the God of my life, are, that he would give you a visit in his tender pity, and guide and help you to stay your mind upon himself, in his most precious Truth; of which he has not only given you a taste, but, many times, a full sense and experience. O my dear Friend! that nothing might come between your soul and God's Truth; that your comfort, peace, and joy, might be full, and that you might lay down your head quietly in the bosom of Him, who loves you, and accepts the sincere desires of your heart towards him; as I have always told you, and as is still true concerning you. Mind not temptations nor accusations, nor the many noises the enemy will make in you and against you, to the Lord; but, wait to feel Truth and life springing in your heart from the holy well, and to hear the still voice of the Spirit of the Lord; and he will testify his love to you, and speak peace.

Oh! the tender bowels of my heavenly Father relieve you; and gather you inwardly in there, and preserve you there, where the enemy cannot break in upon you. Look not upon your sins, even since you have known the Truth, in which you might have met with strength against, and preservation from sin, and have been in some measure blessed by the Lord; but, wait to feel something inwardly, in which God appears and breathes, and gathers, and receives,- and eases of the loads, fears, doubts, troubles, temptations, and accusations, etc., and the Lord God of my life and tender mercies, which he has made sure to my soul in the everlasting covenant, give you solid peace and consolation in the Son of his love, through the measure of his grace and Truth springing in your heart, and staying your mind upon him.

O! feel the seed, and the faith which springs from the seed, which gives victory over the enemy, and all his mysterious workings in the heart.

Your Friend, in the truest and most sincere love,

I. P.

LETTER XLIV

Christ the Root of all True Religion

To Thomas Walmsley

Dear FRIEND

There is something on my heart this morning to write to you, in the same love in which I have previously written, which I feel to be pure, of God, and unfeigned towards you and all men; though it also puts a difference between those that are renewed by him and bear his image, and those who have only a form or religion, without the power and life thereof, which sanctifies and redeems up to God, wherever it is received.

What was on my heart to you, in true, pure, and tender love, is this which follows: All true religion has a true root; and that religion, profession, worship, faith, hope, peace, assurance, etc., which grows not from the true root, is not true.

Now, this root is near, and must be felt near, bearing the branch, and causing it to bring forth fruit. It is not enough to hear of Christ, or read of Christ; but this is the thing, — to feel him my root, my life, my foundation; and my soul engrafted into him, by him who has power to engraft. To feel repentance given me by him, faith given me by him, the Father revealed and, be known to me by him, by the pure shining of his light in my heart; God, who caused the light to shine out of darkness, causing it to shine there; so that, in and through him, I come to know not the Son himself only, but the Father also — and then, to come out of the darkness, out of the sin, out of the pollutions of the spirit of this world, into the pure, holy fellowship of the living, by his holy guidance and conduct; and so, to feel all my prayers, all my comforts, all my willingness, all my ability to do and suffer for God and the testimony of his Truth, to arise from this holy, pure root of life, which gives daily strength against sin and death, to all who wait in true humility, and pure subjection of soul and spirit, upon him. Here, is unspeakable comfort and satisfaction given by him to the soul, which all the reasonings of men, with all the devices of Satan, cannot damp. For, He who gave it, preserves and maintains it, over all the strength that can assault it. Oh Friend! I beseech you, mind this; come, Oh come to the true root! Come to Christ indeed! Rest not in an outward knowledge; but come to the inward life, the hidden life, and receive life from him who is the life; and then abide in and live to God in the life of his Son. For death and destruction, corruption and vanity, may talk of the fame of Christ, who is the wisdom of God; but they cannot know nor find out the place where this wisdom is revealed; they cannot come at the true, pure fear, which God puts into the hearts of his; this is the beginning of the true wisdom, which cleanses darkness and impurity out of the hearts of those to whom it is given. For light expels darkness; life expels death; purity expels impurity; Christ, where he is received, binds and cuts out the strong man, taking possession of the heart. And if any man be truly and really in Christ, he comes to witness a new creation, even the passing away of old things, and all things becoming new.

Christ is faithful In all his house, "In whose house are we," said the Apostle, “if we hold fast the confidence, and the rejoicing of the hope, firm unto the end," Heb 3:6 — faithful as a Son, who comes in the name and authority of the Father, to do whatsoever is to be done in the heart — faithful in discovering whatever is contrary to God there -  faithful in engaging his power against it. And shall not his power prevail? and where it prevails, and the good pleasure of God's goodness is fulfilled, and the work of faith with power, is not the name of the Lord Jesus Christ glorified there? Read 2 Thes 1:11-12, and consider. Did Christ overcome the devil in that body of his flesh, and shall He not overcome him in the hearts of his children by the power of his Spirit, which he received of the Father to comfort them and carry on his work gloriously in them? What shall become of those that do not fight under Christ, and do not overcome through Christ? Read Rev 3:21. I would not have you deceived of your soul, or of that religion which saves the soul, which religion stands not in word, but in power. Therefore, wait to feel the Spirit and power of Christ, saving you from that, which nothing else can save you from; and bringing that down in you under his feet, which nothing else can bring down.

This is from the true desire which my soul has, after the eternal salvation and satisfaction of yours.

I. P.

28th of First month, 1670.

LETTER XLV

Snares of the Adversary to Distress the Soul.

To Bridget Atley

DEAR FRIEND,

I am sensible of your sore travail and deep distress, and how hard it is for you to meet with what is comfortable and refreshing, and how easily again it is lost; and — where it arises, — even, from the working of the enemy in a mystery of deceit in your heart; in which you do not perceive nor suspect him, but swallow down his baits, and so he smites you with his hook, and thereby draws you back into the region of darkness; and then, enters that part in you which is in nature one with him, filling it with his wickedness; and then, laying loads of accusations upon you, as if they were true. These are not strange things to the travelers after the Lord, but such as are usually met with in the like cases; but, if your eye were made single and opened by the Lord, you would see those baits, and turn from that, which you now so readily swallowed down; and so, avoid the stroke, and keep your station, in the light and mercy of the Lord. You must not look so much at the evil that is near, but rather at what stands ready to pity and help, — and which has pitied and helped your distressed soul, and will pity and help it again. Why is there a mercy-seat, except for the sinner to look towards in time of need!

Neither must you hearken to the questionings of the ensnaring questioner; but, cleave to that which shuts them out, keeping to the sense of the love and mercy, when the Lord is kind and tender to you. When the enemy has entered your habitation again, and broken your rest, peace, and enjoyment of the Lord; again, an earnest desire after cleansing arose in you; not from the life, but in the evil; this was also a means to rob you of that, which in its abiding and powerful operation cleanses the heart; and here, you would be limiting the Lord in his dealings, who works according to the counsel of his own will, and visits when and where he pleases. And thus the enemy, having caught you with his mysterious workings, he then draws you into the pit of darkness, where the remembrance of life, and the sense of mercy and love vanishes; and there is no help for you, or anything you can do or think. But, be patient, until the Lord's tender mercy and love visit you again; and then, look up to him against this and such like snares, which would come between you and the appearance of the Lord's love; that you may feel more of his abidings with you, and of the sweet effects of it. For, these things are not to destroy you, but, to teach you wisdom; which the Lord is able, through many exercises and sore trials, to bestow upon you; which my soul will exceedingly rejoice to hear the tidings of; that your heart may be rid of all that burdens, and filled with all it rightly desires after, in the proper season and goodness of the Lord: to whose wise ordering and tender mercy I commit you, remaining,

Your faithful Friend,

I. P.

LETTER XLVI

A Loving Plea to a Persecutor

To Sir William Armorer (so styled.)

FRIEND,

The weighty sense of an eternal condition after this life, has been upon my heart from my childhood; and it is often with me, that I must give an account to God, when I pass out of this transitory world, of all things done in the body; and shall enter into eternal rest and blessedness, or eternal woe or misery. This causes me to call upon the Lord daily, for grace and wisdom from him; that my conscience, being cleansed through the blood of his Son, may be kept void of offence, both towards him and men. And truly, (I speak not with boasting, but in the fear of the Lord, and in the sense of his goodness and tender mercy to me), my heart is preserved in love and innocence towards those, who most injuriously, and without provocation on my part, have taken away my liberty, for all I know, for my whole lifetime. What you further intend towards me, the Lord knows, to whom I have committed my cause: but, this is on my heart to express to you, because, when I was with you, you spoke words to this purpose, that we wished you hanged, or would be glad if you were hanged. God, who knows my heart, is witness, that I wish you no evil, neither to you nor your family; but wish, you may avoid all such things, as may bring his wrath and curse upon you, either in this world or the world to come.

And, Friend, do not provoke the Lord by afflicting those that fear him; but, cease to do evil, learn to do well; and this will please the Lord, and is more acceptable to him, than all the worship that can be offered up to him, without this.

I have sent you a little book, as a token of my love, desiring you to peruse it seriously. Oh! do not endeavor to bring me into such a condition, as is there related. I have had greater light, in the way into which the Lord has led me, than this man had; and, in that light, I have seen, that I ought not to swear, but to give the" Yes" and "No" of truth, which comes from the Christian nature, and is of far more certainty and assurance than swearing. For, the man that swears may easily break his oath, but he that keeps to the truth cannot alter his yes and no, but it stands in the truth; and this our Lord and Master has set above, and on the top of, and instead of, swearing; which, if we should vary from and deny, we should deny him who has taught us not to swear. Indeed, if we had not learned it of the Lord, and if it was not by him required of us, we should rather swear than otherwise; for, we would very willingly give men satisfaction, in those particulars which they require us to swear about.

Friend, God has given you an immortal soul, and does require of you righteousness towards your fellow creatures, and temperance and moderation of spirit, and sensibleness of the judgment to come after this life. You are stricken in years, and you have but a little moment left remaining of your time; and then, it will be determined concerning your soul, what or how it shall be forever! Let the words of love, truth, and innocence from me, prevail upon you to be serious, and to let in the sense and fear of God upon your heart. You have spent much time in serving man. Oh spend a little time in serving and fearing God! There is something, which is pure of God, appointed by him to exercise the conscience towards him. You have such a thing near you. Oh that you might know it, and be joined to it! for, until then, you can never truly serve nor fear the Lord; but, may spend your time here in a vain show, and at last be judged and condemned by the Lord, and lie down in eternal sorrow; which, it is the desire of my heart, may not be your portion from the hand of the Lord.

This is from a sufferer by you, who never gave you the least cause or provocation so to deal with me,

I. P.

LETTER XLVII

On an unfaithful Profession of the Truth.

To Abraham Grimsden

FRIEND,

You have made some profession of Truth, and at times come among us; but, whether. you have been changed thereby, and been faithful to the Lord in what has been made manifest to you, belongs to you diligently to inquire. There is no safe dallying with Truth. He that puts his hand to the plough, must not look back at anything of this world; but, take up the cross and follow Christ, in the single-hearted obedience, hating father, mother, goods, lands, wife, Yes, all for His sake; or he is not worthy of Him. The good hand of the Lord is with his people, and he blesses them both inwardly and outwardly; and, they that seek the kingdom of heaven, and the righteousness thereof, in the first place, have other things also added: but, they that neglect the. kingdom, and are unfaithful to Truth, seeking the world before it, the hand of the Lard goes forth against them, and they, many times, miss of that also of the world, which they seek and labor for.

Truth is honorable. Oh! take heed of bringing a reproach upon it, by pretending to be of it, and yet, not being of it, in the pure sense and obedience, which it begets and brings forth in the hearts and lives of the faithful. But, if any are careless and unfaithful to what they are convinced at and so, for the present, bring a reproach upon God's Truth, which is altogether innocent thereof; the Lord, in his due time, will wipe off that reproach from his Truth and people; but, the sorrow and burden will light upon themselves, which will be very bitter and heavy to them, in the day that the Lord shall visit them with his righteous judgments. O consider rightly and truly! It had been better for you, you had never known Truth, nor been directed to the principle and path of righteousness; than, after direction thereto, to turn from the holy commandments, and deny obedience to the righteous One. The Lord give you true sense and repentance, if it be his holy pleasure, and raise you out of this world's spirit, to live to him in his own pure Spirit. It is easy to profess and make a show of Truth, but hard to come into it. It is very hard to the earthly mind, to part with that which must be parted with for it, before the soul can come to possess and enjoy it. Profession of truth, without the life and power, is but a slippery place, which men may easily slide from; no, indeed, if men are not in the life and power, they can hardly be kept from that, which will stain their profession. The Lord, who searches the heart, knows how it is with you. Oh consider your ways, and fear before him, and take heed of taking his name in vain, for he will not hold such guiltless!

I am, in this, faithful and friendly to your soul, desiring its eternal welfare, and that it may not forever perish from the presence and power of the Lord.

I. P.

LETTER XLVIII

Focusing on Christ's Fleshly Appearance, Missing His Spiritual Appearance

FRIEND,

God breathed into man the breath of life, and man thereby became a living soul to God, to whom by transgression he died. But Christ (who was before Abraham, and, in due time, took up that body prepared by the Father), is the resurrection and the life, who, from the Father, breathes life into man again, and so he comes to live again. And, man, being quickened by Christ, is to rise up from the dead, and travel with Christ into the land of the living. And, Christ is all to the believers, in whom dwells all fullness; the circumcision is in him, the baptism in him, and the righteousness, and rest, and peace also. Yes, in him are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge; and, he is made of God, unto those who believe in him, wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. Now, it is very precious to feel this; but, of little value to imagine or comprehend perceptions about this. For, the end of words is to bring men to the thing; but, the Scribes and Pharisees, by their assumptions upon the words given forth by the Spirit, missed of the thing, (though, they thought they did not miss it, but were blessed in the knowledge of the law, and that those who knew not the-law were cursed); and the same spirit is alive in many that profess Truth now, who, by their understanding of Scripture words, are kept from the thing which the Scriptures testify of. What did Christ come in the flesh and suffer for, but to unite and reconcile to God! And, what is the antichristian way of erring from the Truth, but to cry up [profess] the appearance of Christ in the flesh, his sufferings, resurrection, ascension, etc., in that spirit, in which the true union and reconciliation is not witnessed! If we receive the light, and walk in the light, as God is in the light, then have we a share in his Son's death and atonement; and his blood cleanses from unrighteousness; but not otherwise. Oh that all who truly desire salvation, might know the way here, and receive that from God, which cleanses and keeps clean, Amen.

I. P.

LETTER XLIX

What I have — daily the light and the Son of God in my heart.

DEAR FRIEND,

Whom I often remember with love and meltings of heart; desiring of God, that you may enjoy, in this world, what of his presence and pure life he judges fit for you, and that your soul may, after this life, sit down in rest and peace with him forever.

I received from you a paper of Richard Baxter's, sent, I believe, in love; and, in love, am I pressed to return unto you my sense thereof. It seems to me very useful and weighty so far as it goes; but, indeed, there is a great defect in it, in not directing sinners to that principle of life and power, in which and by which they may do that, which he exhorts them to do. For, how can they come to a true sensibility or repentance, or join in covenant with God through Christ, until they know and receive something from God, in which it may be done! Oh My dear Friend! that he, and you, and all who in any measure turn from this world, and do indeed desire life eternal, might know the instruction of life, and feel that from God in which he is known, loved, and joined with in covenant; that so, there might be a pure beginning, a pure growth and going on unto perfection, and not notion, concerning things set up in the earthly understanding, which easily putrefy and defile; but, pure life, felt and enjoyed in the heart, which is undefiled, and never saw nor shall see corruption. I have not freedom to write many words; but, my love breathes for you, and my life desires fellowship with you, (it may seem good unto my God), in that which is pure of him, and will remain so forever.

And, whatever men may say or think of me, I have no other religion now, than I had from the beginning; only, a clearer leading into and guidance by that principle of life, in and through which, it pleased the Lord then to quicken me. And this is it, which I have daily experience of in my heart; that it is no less than the light of the everlasting day, in which the renewed man is to walk, and no less than the life of the Son, (whom God gave a ransom for sinners), which can quicken man so to do; and, none but Christ, none but Christ, by his life revealed in the soul, and blood shed there to wash it, can save the poor sinner from sin, wrath, and misery; and, my hope is not in what I have done, do, or can do;  but, in what he has done outside me, and also does in me.

This is the account of my love to you, drawn forth at this time by the outward expression of yours in sending that paper, who remain, and, from my first acquaintance, have ever been, a Friend and lover of you.

I. P.

Peter's Chalfonte,

19th of Sixth Month, 1665

LETTER L

Basics Leading to Possession of the Fullness of Christ

FRIEND,

The Lord God on whom I wait, and whom I worship in spirit and truth, and whom it is my delight to serve and obey, has divers times engaged my mind to write to you in true and tender love. There is also at this time on my heart, something, concerning the state of the gospel, in general, and, in particular, concerning the state and condition of those, who truly know and serve the Lord Jesus Christ, the King of saints.

The state of the gospel in general, is a state or redemption and deliverance from the soul's enemies; of which redemption every soul partakes, according to its faith in and obedience to the Truth, and according to its growth in Him who is true. The babes in Christ and little children, their sins are forgiven them for His name's sake. The young men have fought valiantly, and have overcome the wicked one. The old men, or elders in the Truth, they are experienced in the heavenly wisdom and knowledge of Him, who is from the beginning.

Now, there are some things which belong to all in general, or which are common to all, and something which is peculiar to each member in particular. These things, which belong to all in general, are very many; but, it is only on my heart to mention to you at this time those few, which the apostle recites together in Eph 4:4-6, which indeed comprehend much; and, he that knows and partakes of them, has also a share in, and benefit by, all the rest.

First, he said, "There is one body." There is one head; and this one head has one body, of which all that are truly living are members.

Secondly," There is one Spirit," which quickens, keeps alive, and gives, nourishment to, orders, comforts, defends this one body.

Thirdly, "There is one hope of" their "calling;" for they are all called from the land of darkness, and out of the shadow and dominion of death, to travel towards an inheritance of light, and life everlasting.

Fourthly; "There is "one Lord," who has power over, and the rule and dominion of this one body; to whom they are all to give an' account daily of what they do, and at the last day, of what has been done in their body of flesh.

Fifthly, There is "one faith," by which they can believe in, and draw virtue from the head; which faith. is one gift of God, and springs from the root of life in his Son, and is of another nature than that natural ability of believing, which is found in mankind.

Sixthly, There is "one baptism," by the one Spirit; by which, all the true members are baptized into the one living body, and come to partake of the virtue, benefits, and privileges of it.  

Lastly, There is "one God and Father of all," who begat them all, and is to be worshipped by them all, as their Lord and God; he being witnessed and experienced by them to be "above all, and through all, and in" them “all."

This is the state in general, the gospel state, into which Christ gives his sheep, his Father's children, entrance; and, it is a blessed thing to know and experience this state, that is, to have a real interest in, and really to partake of these things.

The state of everyone in particular is thus; "Unto everyone" in particular "is given grace, according to the measure of the gift of Christ," Grace and truth comes by Jesus Christ; for the fullness is his. Yes, he is the fullness; and of his fullness he gives a measure to each member in particular. Not to all a like proportion, but to everyone some; as he pleases to distribute and proportion out the gift of his grace to them. For, it is his own, and he may dispense his gifts and heavenly talents as he pleases; and, according to the state of each in the body, and according to their work and service, so does he proportion out his gift of grace to them. Now, this is that which everyone is to mind: even, the grace given to them, their own gift from Christ, to grow in that, and to be what they are in that. He that has none of this grace, he is none of Christ's; and he that has received the grace, the free gift, he is to keep to the measure of it, in all he is and does,

Now, shall I say to you, feel my love in these lines? Or, shall I not rather say, feel the love of my God, who visits you yet again, and would not have you perish, in resisting his Holy Spirit, and slighting the grace and truth which is by Jesus Christ, which is now powerfully revealed in many hearts:-  blessed is he, who has visited his people with the horn of salvation,

I. P.

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