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hath the Lord appeared to thefe, vifited thefe, built upon thefe, comforted these? Surely then, the poor whom he hath raised out of the duft, and the' needy whom he hath lifted off from the dunghill, cannot but praise his
Query 5. Who is this, whofe ftones God lays with fair colours, and her foundation with faphires? Whofe windows God makes of agates, and her gates of carbuncles, and all her borders of pleasant ftones? Was not the covenant of life fo adorned in the apoftles days? And is fhe not fo adorned now again?
Query 6. Whofe children are they, who fhall be all taught of the Lord, and whofe peace fhall be great, who fhall be established in righteousness, who fhall be far from oppreffion, fo that they fhall not fear; and from terror, fo that it shall not come near them? Are there fuch a generation of the heavenly birth, of the covenant of life, brought forth in this our day, who fanctify the Lord of hosts himself, and make him their fear and their dread, but are not terrified with the wicked one, nor with the fnares 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 fhaken or removed, by all the terrors and oppreffing devices of the ungodly.
Query 7. By whom do they gather together, who gather together against fuch a people? Certainly it is not by the Lord, nor by any advice or counfel 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 raifed up by his power, and undertaketh to defend. How tender was God of Ifrael after the flesh in the day of his delivering them! See 1 Chron. xvi. 19, &c. And will he not be as tender of his fpiritual Ifrael, in the day of his redeeming and delivering them? Indeed the oppofition will be very great, but confider who fhall have the victory, fee Rev. xvii. 14. Certainly it is true, and fealed by the Spirit of the Lord, that patience, meekness, innocency, love, righteousness, &c. fhall at length overcome all unrighteousness, enmity, oppreffion, cruelty, wrath, &c. and that spirit from which they proceed; and as they are overcome, and when they are overcome, the Lamb's Spirit fhall reign and fhine in the glory of the Father. Oh! the sweet sense of this day, and further hope thereof; how doth it bear up the fuffering lambs, in the midst of all their trials and tribulations!
Query 8. Hath not God created the wafter 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 deftroy his heritage? Or will God fuffer him fo to do? They may indeed destroy the buildings which are not of God; but God is the wife, great master-builder, who counted his coft before he
Some Queries on Ifaiah liv.
began, and knew he was able to maintain his building, against all the oppofitions and oppofers, 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 righteoufnefs; I fay, can any weapon formed against these, profper? Every tongue that rifeth up in judgment against them, doth not the holy tongue condemn? Is not this the heritage of the fervants of the Lord, in this our day? And doth not the Lord fay (whatever men say to the contrary) that their righteoufnefs 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 teftimony we have, even from the Spirit of the Lord, who taketh away our unrighteousness 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. fo the righteousness is but one neither. Be not hafty in fpirit, but wait to understand in the light and Spirit of the Lord, which is wif dom's place of giving true understanding to her difciples.
It is true, there hath been great darknefs, and the true church hath been in the wilderness, and the remnant of her feed hunted and perfecuted up and down the earth by the falfe church, which hath been cried up for the true. But, bleffed be the Lord, the darkness is paffing away, and the true light fhining again; which light discovers and redeems out of all that is false, into that which is true; fo 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 falvation, all that are truly living. And now the kingdom of darkness is going down, and the kingdom of our Lord Jefus Chrift raifing up and exalting; which is an inward kingdom, a fpiritual kingdom, a kingdom of life, a kingdom of peace, a kingdom of righteousness, a kingdom of holy power and dominion over fin and death in the heart. And this will spread and increase, to the bleffing of perfons, families, and nations (as they come to be fenfible of, and fubject to the holy light and power thereof), with the bleffings of Abraham, wherewith all families and nations are to be bleffed, as they come to be unleavened from the ferpentine 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 fame mighty arm of strength wherewith he began it; and open the eyes of this nation, that they may fee their proper hope and intereft; for indeed the Lord hath great love to this nation, and bleffing in store for it (for the feed's fake which he hath sown and caused to spring up in it); though many trials and tribulations must first be paffed through, and the Spirit of enmity and oppofition
against the appearance of God's Holy Spirit and power worn out. Oh! that men could come to that which gives the eye-fight, that thereby they might fee a-right, and no longer take the rife of their feeing from that fpirit 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 fuffer with for his Truth's fake; about the latter end of the 4th Month, 1671.
HOLY TRUTH and PEOPLE
And fome of the
WEAPONS and STRENGTH
POWER OF DARKNESS, Broken and Scattered,
LIGHT and POWER of TRUTH.
Chief Paffages in a LETTER, written to me, and replied to by me, before my Imprisonment in this Place.
A N S W
Where I have been a Prisoner above a Year and a Half, without any Law broken, or Caufe given on my Part; who only came Innocently and Peaceably to Vifit my Friends in Prison.
By me ISAAC PENINGTON,
Prifoner 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
LETTER was fent me from a dear friend of mine (bearing date the Fifth of the Eleventh Month, 1671.), who had long been greatly diftreffed, and could not find relief in the way of her former profeffion and church-fellowship; for whom I greatly travailed with the Lord, and towards whom my spirit was made very tender by him. I ftill felt the feal of God's love and mercy towards her, even in her lowest condition, deepest despair, and foreft captivity, through her great and manifold temptations; and my teftimony to her at times, from the Lord, on this behalf, was fometimes of use to her, to bear up her fpirit, till the day of God's vifiting and redeeming her, with the virtue and healing power of his falvation; which, bleffed be his name, the hath fince had fweet 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 anfwered long ago, one that belonged to Sir Henry Vane (as fhe fignified in her letter to me) defired she should fee; which is faid to be an answer to a letter of mine. If my answer had gone along with it, I fhould have took no further notice of it; but it going without my answer, left it should do hurt to thofe 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 occafion. How greatly, truly, and purely I have loved the man, I will not boaft (the Lord knoweth, with whofe knowledge herein I am content): but, oh! that this his paper might not be laid to his charge at the great day! which (I am afraid) it will, unlefs 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 fent me in the form of a book, as if it had been fent abroad for fpecial fervice. There was no name at it, as if it were an arrow to fly in