On love, meekness, and watching over each other

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On love, meekness, and watching over each other: Isaac Penington's letter to Friends in Amersham, written in May 1667.  (1828) 
by Isaac Penington
SOURCE: Isaac Penington (1617 - 1679) Letters of Isaac Penington: an eminent minister of the gospel in the Society of Friends, which he joined about the year 1658: the greater part not before published [edited by John Barclay], London: John & Arthur Arch, 1828 as Letter No. LETTER LII [Number 52], headed “On love, meekness, and watching over each other”, pp168-169.

Notes: 1. An extract of this letter, the section from “Our life is” up to "... with a tender hand" is included in Britain Yearly Meeting's Quaker Faith & Practice (1995), as paragraph 10.01, and was in previous editions of the British Quaker Books of Discipline. The letter to Amersham Meeting is transcribed and its context described in Knowing the mystery of life within: Selected writings of Isaac Penington in their historical and theological context, selected and introduced by R. Melvin Keiser & Rosemary Moore; London, Quaker Books (2005) isbn 0-85245-378-7 page 59-60.

2. “Third Month” was May, until the calendar was revised.

Isaac Penington's letter to Amersham Friends Meeting 1667

To Friends in Amersham,


Our life is love, and peace, and tenderness; and bearing one with another, and forgiving one another, and not laying accusations one against another; but praying one for another, and helping one another up with a tender hand, if there has been any slip or fall; and waiting till the Lord gives sense and repentance, if sense and repentance in any be wanting.

O wait to feel this spirit, and to be guided to walk in this spirit, that ye may enjoy the Lord in sweetness, and walk sweetly, meekly, tenderly, peaceably, and lovingly one with another. And then ye will be a praise to the Lord, and any thing that is, or hath been, or may be amiss, ye will come over in the true dominion, even in the Lamb's dominion; and that which is contrary shall be trampled upon, as life rises and rules in you.

So, watch your hearts and ways; and watch one over another in that which is gentle and tender, and knows it can neither preserve itself, nor help another out of the snare; but the Lord must be waited upon to do this in and for us all. So, mind Truth, the service, enjoyment, and possession of it in your hearts, and so to walk as ye may bring no disgrace upon it, but may be a good savour in the places where ye live - the meek, innocent, tender, righteous life reigning in you, governing over you, and shining through you in the eyes of all with whom ye converse.

Your Friend in the Truth, and a desirer of your welfare and prosperity therein.

I. P.


4th of 3rd Month, 1667.

This posthumous work is in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright terms of posthumous works are 99 years or less since posthumous publication, rather than based on how many years after author's death.