|About the Book|
Isaac Penington (1616-1679) was the son of a prominent English politician, and the father-in-law of William Penn, founder of Pennsylvania. He lived during what is often considered one of the most turbulent periods of Englands history. Though bornMoreIsaac Penington (1616-1679) was the son of a prominent English politician, and the father-in-law of William Penn, founder of Pennsylvania. He lived during what is often considered one of the most turbulent periods of Englands history. Though born into a family of wealth and reputation, Peningtons heart was set upon things above from his earliest days. Even as a child, he recognized that the accepted religion of his day stood in the will and understanding of man, in outward practices, duties, and scriptural truths that were professed but not truly possessed. Isaac Penington longed for more. Speaking of his early days he wrote, That which I sought after was the resting place, the true Life of my soul, the power and presence of the Lord, the same demonstration of his Spirit that was witnessed in the days of the apostles. Yet, breathing after this and not meeting with it caused unutterable anguish, misery, and distress in my heart. But the Lord is found by those who seek Him, for it is the Fathers good pleasure to reveal His Son. And as Penington, together with many in his day who shared his hunger for truth, turned their hearts to the living God, the veil was taken away, and they discovered and declared a Christianity that stood in, and flowed out from, the light and life of Jesus Christ reigning in the inner man. About This Edition Most readers find the original four volumes of Peningtons works somewhat difficult to read. Though his writings are considered to be of the Early Modern English period, todays readers often find aspects of the language, punctuation, and syntax to be fairly distracting or burdensome. Because of this, many give up on this tremendous book rather than make the effort to wade through it. My desire in putting together this edition is twofold: First, I have tried to reduce the four volumes down to a more manageable two volumes by retaining the bulk of his spiritual writings and letters, while eliminating certain things I judged to be less weighty or relevant to our day. Some of Peningtons writings were papers addressed to Parliament, the City of London, or the Army, having to do with specific laws, events, and persecutions of his time. Others were lengthy examinations and refutations of books or papers published against Quakers. Most of these, and other writings of this nature, were not included in this publication. My second goal in preparing this edition was to make the English somewhat more readable without changing Peningtons meaning or over-modernizing his language. I struggled with this. I deeply appreciate Peningtons carefulness with words, and I know that he was profoundly aware of both what and how he was communicating. Furthermore, I have no doubt but that the Spirit of God was the true Author behind much of his work. On account of this, I approached the task of editing and modernizing these writings with great care, and in a measure of the fear of the Lord. In my attempts to make his writings a bit more reader-friendly, I sought to never change his meaning, or even paraphrase his intent with my own words as much as that was possible. Sometimes, however, I found this to be unavoidable. And at other times, I felt obliged to clip out small portions so as to avoid wordiness or repetition. Still, the vast majority of the changes I made were to small things like punctuation, word order, and spelling. Some words from Peningtons era simply do not carry the same meaning today. These words were replaced with the closest modern equivalent I could find. A few words and concepts warranted further explanation which can be found in footnotes. The reader will also notice that pronouns and other terms referring to deity (like seed or lamb) are usually not capitalized in this volume (though there are some exceptions). It was not customary to capitalize such words in Peningtons era, and I have left them as he wrote them.