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hath the Lord appeared to these, visited these, built upon these, comforted these? Surely then, the poor whom he hath raised out of the dust, and the needy whom he hath lifred off from the dunghill, cannot but praise his mame.
Query 5. Who is this, whose stones God lays with fair colours, and her foundation with saphires? Whose windows God makes of agates, and her gates of carbuncles, and all her borders of pleasant stones ? Was not the covenant of life so adorned in the apostles days? And is she not fo adorned now again?
Query 6. Whose children are they, who shall be all taught of the Lord, and whose peace shall be great, who fhall be established in righteousness, who shall be far from oppression, so that they shall not fear; and from terror, so that it shall not come near them ? Are there such a generation of the heavenly birth, of the covenant of life, brought forth in this our day, who sanctify the Lord of hosts himself, and make him their fear and their dread, but are not terrified with the wicked one, nor with the snares and engines of the ungodly? Surely they who are taught of God, have peace from him and in him, and are established in the righteous spirit and life of his Son ; they are like Mount Sion, which cannot be shaken or removed, by all the terrors and oppressing devices of the ungodly.
Query 7. By whom do they gather together, who gather together against such a people? Certainly it is not by the Lord, nor by any advice or counsel from him ; but by the advice of that spirit which opposeth himself against the power and work of the Lord: and that spirit muft fall for the fakes of those whom God hath raised up by his power, and undertaketh to defend. How tender was God of Israel after the Aesh in the day of his delivering them !: See i Chron. xvi. 19, &c. And will he not be as tender of his spiritual Israel, in the day of his redeeming and delivering them ? Indeed the opposition will be very great, but consider who shall have the victory, see Rev. xvii. 14. Certainly it is true, and sealed by the Spirit of the Lord, that patience, meekness, innocency, love, righteousness, &c. fhall at length overcome all unrighteousness, enmity, oppression, cruelty, wrath, &c. and that spirit from which they proceed; and as they are overcome, and when they are overcome, the Lamb's Spirit shall reign and shine in the glory of the Father. Oh! the sweet sense of this day, and further hope thereof; how doth it bear up the suffering lambs, in the midst of all their trials and tribulations!
Query 8. Hath not God created the waster to destroy ? and hath not he power over him? And doth not he limit him in the midst of his destroying work? But did God create him to destroy his heritage? Or will God suffer him fo to do? They may indeed destroy the buildings which are not of God; but God is the wise, great master-builder, who counted his coft before he
Some Queries on Isaiah liv.
133 began, and knew he was able to maintain his building, against all the oppositions and opposers, which could rise up againft it.
Query 9. Can any weapon formed against the covenant of life, and the children thereof, who are taught of God, and have peace from him, and who are established by him in righteousness; I say, can any weapon formed against these, prosper ? Every tongue that riseth up in judgment against them, doth not the holy tongue condemn? Is not this the heritage of the servants of the Lord, in this our day! And doth not the Lord say (whatever men say to the contrary) that their righteousness is of him ? Indeed, whoever receiveth the true righteousness, receiveth it from the hand of the Lord, and knoweth it to be of him.
And this testimony we have, even from the Spirit of the Lord, who taketh away our unrighteoufness and filthy garments, and giveth us righteousness from and in his Son's righteousness, even the very fame wherewith the Son himself was cloathed. For as the feed is but one, and of one, Heb. ii. 11. so the righteousness is but one neither. Be not hafty in spirit, but wait to understand in the light and Spirit of the Lord, which is wifdom's place of giving true understanding to her disciples.
It is true, there hath been great darkness, and the true church hath been in the wilderness, and the remnant of her seed hunted and persecuted up and down the earth by the false church, which hath been cried up for the true.
But, blessed be the Lord, the darkness is passing away, and the true light shining again ; which light discovers and redeems out of all that is false, into that which is true; so that he that is truth, and no lye, is again known, and he speaketh truth and no lye, and he anointeth with the true and holy oil of life and salvation, all that are truly living. And now the kingdom of darkness is going down, and the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ raising up and exalting; which is an inward kingdom, a spiritual kingdom, a kingdom of life, a kingdom of peace, a kingdom of righteousness, a kingdom of holy power and dominion over sin and death in the heart. And this will spread and increase, to the blessing of persons, families, and nations (as they come to be sensible of, and subject to the holy light and power thereof), with the blessings of Abraham, wherewith all families and nations are to be blessed, as they come to be unleavened from the serpentine spirit and wisdom, and leavened with the innocency and righteousness of the Lamb's nature and Spirit.
The mighty God carry on his work, by the same mighty arm of strength wherewith he began it; and open the eyes of this nation, that they may see their proper hope and interest; for indeed the Lord hath great love to this nation, and blessing in store for it (for the feed's sake which he hath Town and caused to spring up in it); though many trials and tribulations must first be passed through, and the Spirit of enmity and opposition against the appearance of God's Holy Spirit and power worn out. Oh! that men could come to that which gives the eye-light, that thereby they might see a-right, and no longer take the rise of their seeing from that spirit and wisdom, which misrepresents things.
Written in Reading-Goal, in the tender love, true innocency, and
uprightness of my heart; which the Lord hath given me to suffer with for his Truth's sake ; about the latter end of the 4th Month, 1671.
IS A AC PENINGTON,
Chief Passages in a LETTER, written to me, and
replied to by me, before my Imprisonment in this Place.
Where I have been a Prisoner above a Year and a Half, without
any Law broken, or Cause given on my Part; who only came Innocently and Peaceably to Visit my Friends in Prison.
By me ISAAC PENINGTON,
Prisoner for the TESTIMONY OF TRUTH (for could I have denied
Truth, I might have avoided the SNARE), at Reading-Goal.
The Bows of the Mighty are broken; and they that stumbled, are girt with
Strength, 1 Sam. ii. 4.
Τ Η Ε ́
P R E FACE.
LETTER was sent me from a dear friend of mine (bearing date
the Fifth of the Eleventh Month, 1671.), who had long been greatly distressed, and could not find relief in the way of her former profession and church-fellowship; for whom I greatly travailed with the Lord, and towards whom my spirit was made very tender by him. I still felt the feal of God's love and mercy towards her, even in her lowest condition, deepest despair, and forest captivity, through her great and manifold temptations ; and my testimony to her at times, from the Lord, on this behalf, was sometimes of use to her, to bear up her spirit, till the day of God's visiting and redeeming her, with the virtue and healing power of his falvation ; which, blessed be his name, she hath since had sweet experience of, and true peace and joy in knowing the true head, holding him in the faith, and being held by him.
Now, this letter of an antient acquaintance of mine, which I had answered. long ago, one that belonged to Sir Henry Vane. (as she signified in her letter to me) desired she should fee; which is said to be an answer to a letter of mine. If my answer had gone along with it, I should have took no further notice of it; but it going without my answer, left it should do hurt to those to whom the Lord hath done or is doing good, I am engaged in spirit to reply somewhat to it, and to give forth to others what the Lord giveth in to me, upon this new occasion. How greatly, truly, and purely I have loved the man, I will not boast (the Lord knoweth, with whose knowledge herein I am content): but, oh! that this his not be laid to his charge at the great day! which (I'am afraid) it will, unless he repent of it; for, indeed, it is not a fruit of life from God's Holy Spirit; but of the growth of Egypt and Babylon.
It was sent me in the form of a book, as if it had been sent abroad for special service. There was no name at it, as if it were an arrow to Ay in