Isaac Penington was one of the early members of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).
Penington was the oldest son of Isaac Penington, a Puritan who had served as the Lord Mayor of London. Penington married a widow named Mary Springett and they had five children. Penington's stepdaughter Gulielma Springett married William Penn. Convinced that the Quaker faith was true, Penington and his wife joined the Friends in 1657 or 1658. Penington became an influential promoter and defender of the Quaker movement, writing extensively on many topics. His writings are prized for their insightful and eloquent exploration of spiritual experience. While read in bulk they can seem repetitious, there is much that is eloquent, moving, and deeply insightful. His Letters have been read continuously within Quakerism for their spiritual counsel, and they deserve to be read more widely within Christianity. His complete works were first published in 1681. They are still in print today and can also be read online.
Penington became an influential promoter and defender of the Quaker movement, publishing several books about it. He was imprisoned six times for his beliefs, starting in 1661. Sometimes the charge was refusal to take an oath. Taking an oath was something that Friends were against doing (see Testimony of Integrity). Refusing to take an oath was prohibited by the Quaker Act of 1662. At other times Penington was charged with attending a Quaker meeting, which was forbidden by the Conventicle Act of 1664.
Penington's wife, Mary, was a remarkable woman in her own right. Her daughter Gulielma, from her first marriage, to Sir WIlliam Springett (who died young), became the first wife of WIlliam Penn.
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A brief account of Some Reasons why the Quakers cannot do some things...
A BRIEF ACCOUNT OF SOME
(Amongst many that might be given)
Why those People called QUAKERS cannot do some Things on the one hand, and forbear doing of some Things on the other hand; for which they have suffered, and do still suffer, so much Violence from the People, and such sore Persecution from the Teachers and Magistrates of these Nat ...read
A Further Testimony to Truth, Revived out of the Ruins of the Apostasy
A FURTHER TESTIMONY TO TRUTH REVIVED OUT OF THE RUINS OF THE APOSTASY OR SEVERAL THINGS OPENED FROM THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH, TOUCHING THE WAY OF LIFE AND SALVATION; WHICH WILL REACH TO THE WITNESS IN THE HEARTS OF THOSE WHOSE SPIRITS ARE QUICKENED, AND WHOSE EARS AND UNDERSTANDINGS ARE OPENED BY THE SPIRIT AND POWER OF THE L ORD Wri ...read
A Question Answered Concerning Reading the Scriptures Aright
A QUESTION ANSWERED C ONCERNING READING THE S CRIPTURES ARIGHT [no date] Quest. How may a man know whether he readeth the Scriptures to his advantage and benefit? or whether he readeth them to his disadvantage or hurt? T HAT the holy Scriptures, written by men inspired by God's Spirit, were of great use and benefit to those to whom they ...read
A Question proposed to the Rulers, Teachers, and People of England
Propounded to the Rulers, Teachers, and People of the Nation of ENGLAND, for them singly to answer in their hearts and consciences, in the fear and dread of the Mighty God of Heaven and Earth; whose mighty Arm of Power is stretched out in this Nation, first to overturn what stands in his way, and then to establish (in the place thereof) ...read
A Question to the Professors of Christianity
PROFESSORS OF CHRISTIANITY
THEY HAVE THE TRUE, LIVING, POWERFUL, SAVING KNOWLEDGE OF CHRIST, OR NO
SOME QUERIES CONCERNING CHRIST, AND HIS APPEARANCES; HIS TAKING UPON HIM OUR FLESH; AS ALSO CONCERNING HIS FLESH AND BLOOD, AND OUR BEING FORMED THEREOF, AND FEEDING THEREON
AN INCITATION TO PROFESSORS SERIO ...read
A Reply to an Answer to Queries by I.P. Concerning Gospel Baptism
A REPLY TO AN ANSWER OF SOME QUERIES CONCERNING THE GOSPEL-BAPTISM GIVEN FORTH BY ME, I. P. WITH ANSWERS TO SOME QUERIES RETURNED, IN A PAPER SUBSCRIBED N. B.  Query 1. W HICH is the gospel baptism, or of what kind is the baptism in the gospel state? Is it outward or inward? Is it the figure of the inward baptism ...read
A Reply to Thy Animadversions
Reply to Queries and Animadversions [1667, published posthumously] Concerning the Rule of the New Covenant, or that which G OD hath appointed to be the Rule to the Children of the New Covenant. T HE way, the truth, the life; the everlasting way, the everlasting truth, the everlasting life; that is the rule in the new covenant. God sent C ...read
A Salutation of Love to the Commissioners of Peace, &c.
LOVE AND TENDER GOODWILL
COMMISSIONERS OF THE PEACE FOR THE COUNTY OF BUCKS, AND SUCH OTHERS IN THAT COUNTY, AND ALSO THROUGHOUT THE NATION, AS ARE CONCERNED IN THE CONTENTS HEREOF.
IF I should warn you of the day of the Lord (which is a day of terrible wrath to the transgressing nature, but of peace, love, an ...read
A Treatise Concerning God's Teaching, and Christ's Law
A TREATISE CONCERNING GOD'S TEACHINGS, AND CHRIST'S LAW WITH SOME OTHER THINGS OF WEIGHTY IMPORTANCE PARTICULARLY MENTIONED AFTER THE PREFACE WRITTEN BY ISAAC PENINGTON PRISONER AT READING JAIL FOR THE TESTIMONY OF TRUTH "They also that erred in spirit shall know understanding, and they that murmured shall learn doctrine." Isa. ...read
A Warning of Love from the Bowels of Life to Professors
A WARNING OF LOVE
FROM THE BOWELS OF LIFE
to the several generations of professors of this age
That they may awaken, and turn towards the LIFE, to be truly cleansed and saved by its powerful, living Virtue, before the Storm of Wrath break forth, and the overflowing Scourge overtake them, which will sweep away the strongest and most well-built Re ...read
A Weighty Question Propounded to the King and Parliament
A WEIGHTY QUESTION
PROPOUNDED TO THE
AND BOTH HOUSES OF PARLIAMENT
TOGETHER WITH SOME
QUERIES ABOUT RELIGION
FOR THE GOOD OF MEN'S SOULS
THAT THEY MAY SEEK AFTER, AND BE ESTABLISHED IN, THAT WHICH GIVES LIFE.
Whether laws made by man, in equity ought to extend any further than there is power in man to obey
Is it n ...read
An Answer to that Common Objection against the Quakers &c.
COMMON OBJECTION AGAINST THE
THAT THEY CONDEMN ALL BUT THEMSELVES
WITH A LOVING AND FAITHFUL ADVERTISEMENT TO THE NATION, AND POWERS THEREOF
It is commonly objected against us, That we condemn all but ourselves; ...read
An Epistle to all Serious Professors of the Christian Religion
AN EPISTLE TO ALL SERIOUS PROFESSORS OF THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION WHEREIN A BRIEF TOUCH OF MY KNOWLEDGE, SENSE, BELIEF, AND EXPERIENCE CONCERNING THE GODHEAD, THE OFFERING UP OF THE L ORD J ESUS C HRIST IN HIS BODY ON THE TREE, AS A PROPITIATORY SACRIFICE TO THE F ATHER, AND THE IMPUTATION OF HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS TO THOSE WHO BELIEVE ...read
An Epistle to such as observe the Seventh Day for a Sabbath
TO ALL SUCH AS OBSERVE
THE SEVENTH DAY OF THE WEEK
FOR THE SABBATH OF THE LORD
In true love to your souls, and in the fear of the Lord, I have a few things to lay before you, that the simplicity in you may not be deceived, and ye err from the way of life, while ye may be eagerly seeking and pressing towards it: for notwi ...read
An inquiry after Truth and Righteousness, and after the People, &c.
AFTER TRUTH AND RIGHTEOUSNESS
AND AFTER THE PEOPLE WHOM THE LORD ESTABLISHETH, AND WILL ESTABLISH THEREIN
In some QUERIES on Isaiah 58 and also on Chap. 54
Query 1. ARE there any people to be found who exceed the state spoken of in ver. 2. of seeking God daily, and delighting to know his ways, as a nation that did righteous ...read
Babylon the Great described
BABYLON THE GREAT
THE CITY OF CONFUSION
IN EVERY PART WHEREOF ANTICHRIST REIGNS
WHICH KNOWETH NOT THE ORDER AND UNITY OF THE SPIRIT, BUT STRIVETH TO SET UP AN ORDER AND UNIFORMITY ACCORDING TO THE WISDOM OF THE FLESH, IN ALL HER TERRITORIES AND DOMINIONS
HER SINS, HER JUDGMENTS
WITH SOME PLAIN QUERIES FURTHER TO DISCOVER HER; AND SO ...read
Concerning God's Seeking out His Israel
GOD'S SEEKING OUT
CONCERNING THE PRINCIPLE OF LIFE, WHEREBY HE SEEKETH THEM
THE WAY OF THEIR CLOSING WITH HIS SPIRIT THEREIN
AS ALSO CONCERNING
THE TWO COVENANTS
UNDER ONE WHEREOF HE PLEASETH TO EXERCISE AND PREPARE THEM FOR THE LIFE AND INHERITANCE, WHICH HE HATH TREASURED UP FOR THEM IN THE OTHER
THE AFFLICTING OR PUNISHING THAT WHICH IS GOOD, UNDER THE PRETENCE OF ITS BEING EVIL
Which practice is contrary to the very nature of mankind (so far as it is drawn out of the corruption and depravation), which would be good, and do good, and have good cherished and evil suppressed, both in itself and others
Concerning the Church, or Church State under the Gospel
THE CHURCH STATE
WHEREBY IT MAY APPEAR
What a miserable APOSTASY from the TRUTH hath overspread and covered the Earth for many Ages and Generations, and how gross and thick the Darkness yet lies upon it; though the Light of GOD, in his tender Mercy, hath broke forth and shined upon the People of h ...read