Friday, August 1, 2014

Resisting and Receiving God's Spirit, Experiencing His Teachings

The Letters of Isaac Penington

To Nathaniel Stoner

IT is a dangerous thing to resist God's Spirit; and yet, very easy for a man so to do, who has nor received a true understanding from the Lord, nor is acquainted with the leadings and outgoings of Him who is pure. He that is tender and truly sensible may discern when he resists, when he quenches, or when he grieves the Spirit of the Lord; but he that is not truly enlightened, nor in the true sense, cannot do so. The Scribes and Pharisees, who were interpreters of the law, and very strict in outward observations and ordinances, who blamed their fathers for killing the prophets, and said, if they had been in the days of the prophets, they would never have dealt with them as their fathers did; yet, concerning these, said Stephen,  “You stiff-necked, and uncircumcised in heart and ears, you do also resist the Holy Ghost; as your fathers did, so do you.” For until the stiff will and stiff wisdom is brought down in a man, he cannot but resist God's Spirit, and fight for his notions and practices, according to his interpretations of the scriptures, against the testimony of God's Spirit and power. Paul walked according to the letter of the law was blameless, yet he resisted the Spirit which gave forth the law. Those who would be found not resisting God's Spirit,  must know the Spirit, receive the Spirit, live in the Spirit, walk in the Spirit, and not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. He who is indeed turned to the redeeming arm, to Christ the power of God, and gathered into the power, and dwells in the Spirit and power of the Lord Jesus, and is taught and led by Him from path to path, and from pasture to pasture, as the Lamb, the Shepherd, goes before and guides him; — he is preserved from grieving the Holy Spirit, which moves and draws, instructs and quickens, all that are born of God. But, he that is only in the letter [the Bible], and in the form of godliness, out of the inward life and power, he is of that birth, mind, nature, and spirit, which cannot but resist God's Spirit. He knows not, he heeds not, His drawings, His movings, His light, His life, — the way thereof, — either in his own heart, or in the hearts of others; and so, walks in a way of rebelling against and resisting Him, who is the only Saviour and Redeemer of the soul. See Job 38:1-4, and 24:13. Oh that you might learn to wait correctly to learn these things, and come into the true sense and discerning of the Spirit and power of the Lord, that you might not any more resist it, neither in yourself nor in others. The Lord open your heart, and lay your spirit low before him; that you may come into a right sense and judgment, concerning the state of your own soul; and may experience the Lord manifesting things to you, as they truly are. 

I. P.

15th of the Fifth Month, 1671



Wait to receive an understanding from the Lord, that you may come truly to know, whether you have resisted God's Spirit, or not; that you not lose the advantage of making peace with your adversary, while you are in the way with him.

I would not have you deceived about that virtue, life, and power which redeems the soul. For, there is no other Redeemer besides the Lord Jesus Christ, and he redeems by the grace of his Spirit, and by faith in his blood, which cleanses from sin; which blood is sprinkled on the consciences of those that believe,- and that, not in the darkness, but in the light; as is said in 1 John 1:7. “If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ, his Son, cleanses us from all sin." Under the law, the blood of bulls and goats was sprinkled outwardly on the outward things, which sanctified to the purifying of the outward things; but under the gospel the blood of the Lamb is sprinkled inwardly, upon inward and heavenly things. See Heb 9:13-14, 22-23, 10:22, and 12:24. Oh that you truly understood  the difference between your own claiming of Christ's blood to yourself, and the Lamb's sprinkling it upon you, and washing your soul within! Rev 1:5, and also, between your own believing, according to your own assumptions of things, and His giving you to believe in the light of his Spirit! and, between your own praying in your own spirit, and his giving you to pray in his Spirit!

Ah! the Truth of our God is precious! the knowledge of his Christ precious! It is a precious thing, to have the Son revealed by the Father to the renewed in mind. God himself is the teacher, in the new covenant of all the true disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ; and, Oh how the teachings of his Spirit differ, from all the knowledge and learning men can attain unto of themselves! The Lord give you the true understanding; and to know what it is to begin your religion in his Spirit; and batter down and bring to nothing the understanding in you, which is not true; that you may not find your soul deeply deceived at last, as to the true knowledge of Christ and mysteries of God's kingdom, -- and so, perish forever! This, in very dear, true, and tender love, from him, who most sincerely and heartily wishes well to you.

I. P.

17th of Fifth Month, 1671

[This is from the Missing Cross to Purity:  Resisting and Receiving God's Spirit, Experiencing His Teachings]