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ment to the other; having received a more than common civility from the inhabitants in general: to whom 1 wish, as to my own soul, the saving knowledge of the truth, as it is in Jesus: that Christians indeed, and at heart, they may be, to the glory of God their Creator, and the eternal salvation of their souls, through Jesus Christ, the alone Redeemer; to whom with the Father, by the Holy Ghost, be all honour and glory, thanksgiving, and praise, world without end.
WILLIAM PENN TO HIS CHILDREN,
RELATING TO THEIR
Civil and Religious Conduct.
Published in the Year 1699.
MY DEAR CHILDREN,
§. 1. Not knowing how long it may please God to con tinue me amongst you, I am willing to embrace this opportunity of leaving you my advice and counsel, with respect to your Christian and civil capacity and duty in this world: and I both beseech you and charge you, by the relation you have to me, and the affection I have always shown to you, and indeed received from you, that you lay up the same in your hearts, as well as your heads, with a wise and religious
§. 2. I will begin with that which is the beginning of all true wisdom and happiness, the holy fear of God.
Children, Fear God: that is to say, have an holy awe upon your minds to avoid that which is evil, and a strict care to embrace and do that which is good. The measure and standard of which knowledge and duty, is the light of Christ in your consciences, by which, as in John iii. 20, 21, you may clearly see if your deeds, aye, and your words and thoughts too, are wrought in God or not; for they are the deeds of the mind, and for which you must be judged: I say, with this divine light of Christ in your consciences, you may bring your thoughts, words, and works, to judgment in yourselves, and have a right, true, sound, and unerring sense of your duty towards God and man. And as you come to obey this blessed light in its holy convictions, it will lead you out of the world's dark and degenerate ways and works, and bring you unto Christ's way and life, and to be of the number of his true self-denying followers, to take up your cross for his sake, that bore his for yours; and to become
the children of the light, putting it on, as your holy armour; by which you may see and resist the fiery darts of Satan's temptations, and overcome him in all his assaults.
§. 3. I would a little explain this principle to you. It is called light, John i. 9. chap. iii. 19, 20, 21. and chap. viii. 12. Eph. v. 8. 13, 14. 1 Thess. v. 5. 1 John i. 5, 6. 7. Rev. xxi. 23. because it gives man a sight of his sin. ́ And it is also called the quickening spirit; for so He is called; and the Lord from heaven, as 1 Cor. xv. 45. 57, who is called, and calls himself, the light of the world, John viii. 12. And why is he called the Spirit? Because he gives. man spiritual life. And, John xvi. S. Christ promised to send his Spirit to convince the world of their sins: wherefore that which convinces you and all people of their sins, is the Spirit of Christ: this is highly prized, Rom. viii. as you may read in that great and sweet chapter, for the children of God are led by it. This reveals the things of God, that appertain to man's salvation and happiness, as 1 Cor. ii. 10, 11, 12. It is the earnest God gives his people, 2 Cor. v. 5. It is the great end and benefit and blessing of the coming of Christ, viz. The shining forth of this light, and pouring forth of this spirit. Yea, Christ is not received by them that resist his light and Spirit in their hearts; nor can they. have the benefit of his birth, life, death, resurrection, intercession, &c. who rebel against the light. "God sent his Son to bless us, in turning us from the evil of our ways:" therefore have a care of evil, for that turns you away from God; and wherein you have done evil, do so no more: but be ye turned, my dear children, from that evil, in thought as well as in word or deed, or that will turn you from God, your Creator, and Christ, whom he has given you for your Redeemer; who redeems and saves his people from their sins, Tit. ii. 14. not in their sins: read Acts ii, and Heb. viii. and the Christian dispensation will appear to be that of the Spirit, which sin quenches, hardens the heart against, and bolts the door upon. This holy divine principle is called grace too, 1 Tim. ii. 11, 12. there you will see the nature and office of it, and its blessed effects upon those that were taught of it in the primitive days. And why grace? Because it is God's love, and not our desert, his good-will, his kindness. "He so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son into the world, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life," John iii. 16. And it is this holy Son, that in John i. 14. 16. is declared to be "full of grace and truth," and that " of his grace we receive grace for grace;" that is, we receive of him, the fulness, what measure of grace we need. And the Lord told
Paul in his great trials, when ready to stagger about the sufficiency of the grace he had received to deliver him: "My grace is sufficient for thee." 2 Cor. xii. 9. O children, love the grace, hearken to this grace; it will teach you, it will sanctify you, it will lead you to the rest and kingdom of God; as it taught the saints of old, first, what to deny, viz. "To deny ungodliness and wordly lusts; and then what to do, viz. "To live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world,' Tit. ii. 11, 12. And he that is full of grace, is full of light; and he that is full of light is the quickening Spirit, that gives a manifestation of his Spirit to every one to profit with, 1 Cor. xii. 7. And he that is the quickening Spirit, is the truth. "I am the way, the truth, and the life," said he to his poor followers, John xiv. 6. "And if the truth make you free," said he to the Jews, "then are you free indeed," John viii. 32. 36. And this truth sheds abroad itself in man, and begets truth in the inward parts, and makes false, rebellious, hypocritical man, a true man to God again. Truth in the inward parts is of great price with the Lord. And why called Truth? Because it tells man the truth of his spiritual state; it shows him his state, deals plainly with him, and sets his sins in order before him. So that, my dear children, the light, spirit, grace, and truth are not divers principles, but divers words, or denominations, given to one eternal Power and heavenly principle in you, though not of you, but of God, according to the manifestation or operation thereof in the servants of God of old time: light, to discover and give discerning: spirit, to quicken and enliven: grace, to wit, the love of God: truth, because it tells man the truth of his condition, and redeems him from the error of his ways so that as darkness, death, sin, and error, are the same; light, spirit, grace, and truth, are the same.
§. 4. This is that which is come by Christ, and a measure of this light, spirit, grace, and truth, is given to every man and woman to see their way to go by. This is that which distinguishes friends from all other societies, as they are found walking in the same, which leads out of vain honours, compliments, lusts, and pleasures of the world.
O, my dear children, this is the pearl of price; part with all for it, but never part with it for all the world. This is the gospel leaven, to leaven you, that is, sanctify and season you in body, soul, and spirit, to God your heavenly Father's use and service, and your own lasting comfort. Yea, this is the divine and incorruptible seed of the kingdom; of which all truly regenerate men and women, Christians of Christ's making, are born. Receive it into your hearts, give it room there, let it take deep root in you, and you will be fruitful
unto God in every good word and work. As you take heed to it, and the holy enlightenings and motions of it, you will have a perfect discerning of the spirit of this world, in all its appearances, in yourselves and others; the motions, temptations, and workings of it, as to pride, vanity, covetousness, revenge, uncleanness, hypocrisy, and every evil way; you will see the world in all its shapes and features, and you will be able to judge the world by it, and the spirit of the world, in all its appearances: you will see, as I have done, that there is much to deny, much to suffer, and much to do: and you will see that there is no power or virtue, but in the light, spirit, grace, and truth of Christ, to carry you through the world to God's glory and your everlasting peace. Yea, you will see what religion is from above, and what is from below; what is of God's working, and of man's making and forcing; also what ministry is of his Spirit and giving, and what of man's studying, framing, and imposing. You will, I say, discern the rise, nature, tokens and fruits of the true from the false ministry, and what worship is spiritual, and what carnal; and what honour is of God, and what that honour is which is from below, of men, yea, fallen men, that the Jews and the world so generally love, and which is spoken against in John v. 44. You will see the vain and evil communication, that "corrupts good manners;' the snares of much company and business, and especially the danger of the friendship of this present evil world. And you will also see, that the testimony the eternal God hath brought our poor friends unto, as to religion, worship, truth-speaking, ministry, plainness, simplicity, and moderation, in apparel, furniture, food, salutation, as you may read in their writings, from the very beginning, is a true and heavenly testimony of his mind, will, work, and dispensation in this last age of the world to mankind, being the revival of true primitive Christianity: where your most tender father prays that you may be kept, and charges you to watch, that you may be preserved in the faith and practice of that blessed testimony; and count it no small mercy from God, nor honour to you, that you come of parents that counted nothing too dear or near to part with, nor too great to do or suffer, that they might approve themselves to God, and testify their love to his most precious truth in the inward parts, in their generation. And I do also charge you, my dear children, to retain in your remembrance those worthy ancients in the work of Christ, which remained alive to your day and memory, and yet remain to your knowledge; more especially that man of God, and prince in Israel, the first-born and begotten of our day and age of truth, and the