Here’s the first part of Penington’s letter to John Mannock. It was selected by Brian Drayton for his May meditation on Penington. Although many meanings may be teased from the passage, I think the main point is that sometimes we have to wait for the stirrings of the Holy Spirit and that—if we are patient—God’s power will manifest itself to us and keep us from backsliding into an unspiritual life. In fact, the Divine Power will help us advance toward and enter into the Kingdom of God with its “life, joy, righteousness, and peace.”
To John Mannock
It is a wonderful thing, to witness the power of God reaching to the heart, and demonstrating to the soul the pure way to life, as in his sight and presence. Surely he that partakes of this is therein favored by the Lord, and ought diligently to wait, for the giving up to the leadings of his Holy Spirit in every thing; that so, he may travel through all that is contrary to the Lord, into that nature and spirit which is of him. It is a wonderful thing also to witness God's preservation from backsliding, and from being entangled by the subtlety of the enemy; who hath many ways and taking devices to ensnare the simple mind, and draw it from the sense of truth, into some notions and belief of things; wherein the soul may be lulled asleep with hopes and persuasions, but hath not the feeling or enjoyment of the true life and power.
O friend! hast thou a sense of the way to the Father? then, be careful that thy spirit daily bow before him, and wait for breathings to him from his pure Spirit, that he would continue his mercy to thee; keeping thee in the true sense, and making thy way more and more clear before thee every day; yea, and bearing thee up in all the exercises and trials which may befall thee, in every kind; that, by his secret working in thy spirit, and helping thee with a little help from time to time, thou mayest still be advancing nearer and nearer towards the kingdom; until thou find the Lord God administer an entrance unto thee thereinto, and give thee an inheritance of life, joy, righteousness, and peace therein; which is strength unto the soul against sin and death, and against the sorrow and trouble which ariseth in the mind, for want of God's presence and holy power revealed there.
(The picture is a portrait of Penington.)
~ Richard Russell
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