Some forty-five years ago I accidentally pulled Jessamyn West’s Quaker Reader off a library shelf. The following quote from Isaac Penington started me on my journey toward Old Chatham Meeting:
What is God?
The fountain of beings and natures, the inward substance of all
that appears; who createth, upholdeth, consumeth, and bringeth
to nothing as he pleaseth.
How may I know that there is a God?
By sinking down into the principle of his own life, wherein he
revealeth himself to the creature. There the soul receiveth such
tastes and knowledge of him, as cannot be questioned by him
that abideth there….
How may a man come to believe in this principle?
In feeling its nature, in waiting to feel somewhat begotten by it,
in this its light springs, its life springs, its love springs, its hidden
power appears, and its preserving wisdom and goodness is made
manifest to the soul that clings to it in the living sense, which its
presence and appearance begets in the soul.
West is right when she calls Penington “the Quaker’s Quaker.”
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