CELT document E670001-003

A Letter of Love to the Young-Convinced

William Penn

Whole text


A Letter of Love to the Young-Convinced

of that Blessed Everlasting Way of Truth and Righteousness, now testified unto by the People of the Lord (called Quakers) of what Sex, Age and Ranck soever, in the Nations of England, Ireland and Scotland, with the Isles abroad; but more particularly those of that great City of LONDON; Spiritual Refreshments, Holy Courage and Perfect Victory from God the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.

My dearly beloved Friends and Brethren;

WHo have been called by the Eternal Spirit, unto an Holy Calling, out of all the Pleasures, Vanities, Customs, Profits and Cares of this perishing polluted World, unto the pure Knowledge of the invisible God, and Jesus in you the Hope of Glory, which, to as many as Believe and Obey, is Life Eternal; and who for that little Beginning of your Heavenly Journey, have met with Reproach, Loss, Suffering and bitter Tryals; as one among you, and a Traveller with you, and therefore deeply sensible of your heavy Exercise, and boweddown Spirits; I am constrained by the Eternal Unction, which we have received from on High, to visit you in tender  p.2 Bowels of Love unfeigned, beseeching you all in God's most Holy Fear and Counsel to stand fast, and make your Calling and Election sure, which is not (my dearest Friends) to those External and Shadowy Services, that could never perfect as concerning the Conscience, in which the Worship of the Jews formerly, and the Nations now mostly do consist (Carnal and Beggarly Elements indeed), but to that Law in the Heart, and Spirit manifested in the Inward Parts, which is the Substance of all.

Here God is the Teacher of his People, and daily doth replenish his with the Immediate Virtue of his own Life; For God Eternal is broken forth, and by the Mighty Power of his Spiritual Appearance is come, to stain the Beauty of all the Inventions of Superstitious Men, and thereby to summon all Nations, Kindreds, Tongues and People to Judgment, for their Unrighteousness, that he alone may Reign King in the Heart, where the Devil has hitherto had Dominion, that true Religion may consist in fearing him and working Righteousness, by the powerful Operation of the Spirit of Jesus in them, which my dearly beloved Friends, with all Singleness of Heart let us wait to be sensible of, that through the glorious Rising of the pure Power of the Everlasting God, which is felt by all the Children of the Light, we may be enabled to work out our great Salvation with Fear and Trembling: For great and weighty is the Work of the Almighty in this his Day of Appearance, even to adopt us Sons and Daughters of the Most High, by a Participation of his Divine Nature, that as we have born the Image of the Earthly, in Pride, Vanity, Wantonness, Avarice, and all manner of Impieties; and that whilst some of us were under great Professions, and the continual Feasting on Visible and Elementary Things; so that now we may daily Experience, through Obedience to that Pure Light and Truth in the Inward Parts, which leads to all Meekness, Patience and  p.3 Purity, the Quickening of the New Man, and sensibly witness a bearing of the Heavenly Image, that so we may come to feel the Peace that passeth the world's Understanding, and our poor, tossed, tryed and troubled Spirits in good measure fix't and anchor'd, in the Immoveable and Holy State, over all the Glories and Pollutions of the World, that so nothing may ever prevail upon us, to return into our former wayes and Lusts, committed in our Ignorance: For, the over-flowing Scourge of the Almighty will be upon the Back of the Backslider, and his swift wrath will overtake the Heart that faints by the way; yea, better were it that such had never been visited with the Glorious Day-spring from on High, nor been convinced by the Powerful Perswasions of the Holy Spirit concerning the Pure Eternal WAY of TRUTH, then afterwards to turn from it, and so trample the Blood of that most Excellent Covenant under foot: Yea, it will be the most Dreadful of all Aggravations to their Eternal Wo and Misery.

And therefore, My dear Friends, let us not be discomforted under all our sharp and heavy Exercises, whether from within or without; for this I am fully perswaded of, That the same pure Principle of Light and Truth, that hath appeared to give a certain Discerning of our States and Conditions, and wrought a Convincement upon our Understandings, is able to give us that Succour and Support, if our Minds be but seriously stay'd thereon, as shall Sanctifie us throughout in Body, Soul and Spirit; and so preserve us clean, to God over all.

And My Dear Brethren, Let us not enter into any Murmurings against the Lord, but be singly given up to know his Will and Work done in us, that we Perish not, as those of old: And in the Tender Love of Jesus Christ I earnestly entreat  p.4 you, let us no more look back upon our ancient Pastimes and Delights but with holy Resolution press on, press on); for they will steal away our precious Souls, beget new Desire, raise the old Life, and finally, ensnare and pollute our Minds again; and what will be the End of such Rebellion, but Woes and Tribulations from the Hand of the Just God, World without end? Neither let us enter into many Reasonings with Opposers; For that's the Life God's Power is revealed to slay with the Two-edged Sword; for 'tis the Still, the Quiet and the Righteous Life, which must be exalted over all. And this I say in a sound Understanding, through the Mercies of the LORD, that Deadness, Darkness and Anguish of Spirit, will be the End of such Disputing and Pragmatical Christians, whose Religion consists much more in Words then Works, Confessing then Forsakings, and in their own Will-performances and External O! servations, then in the Reformation and Conversion of their Souls to God: And finally, we our selves, who have Known something more of the Lord, may also reduce our good Conditions to an utter Loss, by seeking to comprehend Dubious Matters in our Understandings, and Disputing about them with every Opposer the Devil in a way of Temptation shall present to us; which does no way Advance our Growth and Encrease in the Noble Principle of Truth.

And I beseech you, My Dear Friends, Let not the Fear of any External Thing overcome the Holy Resolutions we have made to follow the Lamb, Christ Jesus, through all the Tribulations, Tryals and Temptations, he and his Followers ever met withal; O! let us be Valiant in God's Cause on Earth, who have but a short time and a few dayes to live.

And let the Constancy of the World to the Momentary Fashions, Pleasures and Pollutions of it, the more ardently stir  p.5 us up to express ours, for the Honour of our God against them all, who will Reward us for whatsoever we bear, suffer or part withal on his Account.

And therefore, I beseech you, Let neither Father nor Mother, Sister nor Brother, Wife nor Child, House nor Land, Liberties nor Life it self, deter us from our Holy Constancy; but as the faithful Ancients did of old, through Desarts, Wildernesses and solitary Places, in Goats-Skins and Sheep-Skins, endure all Torments and bitter Mockings in this Earthly Pilgrimage, for the Inheritance which is Everlasting. So, My Dear Friends, Let us do as we have them for our Example; however, let us be very careful to shew all due Respect to our Relations, not to be Exalted, nor any wayes Unruly, lest there be just Cause taken against us, and the blessed Truth should suffer; but in the still, retired, holy and patient Life, this pure eternal Principle of Light and Truth (as seriously and diligently waited on) certainly brings into, let us all dwell and abide, so shall we feel the Powerful Operations of God's Holy Spirit, to the more compleat redeeming of our exercised Souls from under the Dominion of Sin, and to the giving all of us a clearer Understanding and sounder Judgment of those things that are to be parted from (as, the Pleasures, Cares and Customs of the World, that stand in the faln Nature, and only nourish the same, but crucifie the Self-denying Lord of Glory), and of the Things of God, and his spiritual Kingdom, which are to be adhered to, that in his pure Wisdom, which is from above, we may all be kept and preserved, over all the Snares and Temptations of the Adversary, both on the Right Hand and on the Left.

And as one that is a Travailer in this Way, I even Beseech, Caution & Admonish you all in the Holy Awe of God, That you never forbear Meeting & Assembling of your selves  p.6 with the Holy Remnant, amongst whom we first received our Blessed Convincement. O! forever let us Honour the Lord's Truth, and those who do sincerely profess the same, but more especially, such as were in Christ before us; for this is well-pleasing unto the Lord.

And let us beware of Lightness, Jesting or a Careless Mind, which grieves the Holy Spirit, that stands ready to seal us unto the Day of our perfect Redemption; but let us be Grave, Weighty and Temperate, keeping low in Body, as well as Mind, that in all things we may be Examples, and a Sweet Savour for the God who hath loved and called us.

And My Dear Friends, Let us keep in the Simplicity of the Cross of Jesus, even in Plainness of Speech, and out of the World's flattering and deceitful Respects; for we are as well to be a Cross in our Garbes, Gates, Dealings and Salutations, as Religion and Worship, to this Vain, Adulterated and Apostatized Generation. So, in the pure Measure of Truth, that hath been manifested to every Particular, and has convinced us of the Unrighteousness of the World, and the Vanity and Emptiness of all its Professions of God, Christ and Religion, O let us stand and abide! that we may feel it to be our Refuge and strong Tower, when the Enemy shall approach, either by Inward Exercise, or Outward Bonds and Sufferings, which in all likelihood will suddenly overtake us, for the Tryal of our most precious Faith; so shall we sensibly experience that heavenly Blood of cleansing to stream therefrom, which only can give Remission, cleanse from all Sin, and finally, purge the Conscience from Dead Works, to serve the Living, Everlasting, Holy God, Almighty, Lord of Hosts, King of Nations, and King of Saints. And whatsoever things are True, whatsoever things are Honest, whatsoever things are Just, whatsoever things are Pure, whatsoever things are Lovely, and whatsoever things are  p.7 of Good Report, if there be any Vertue, if there be any Praise O let us mind these things! and the God of Peace, that has by his Eternal Quickening Power raised Jesus in Thousands from the Dead, Bless, Accompany and Preserve us over all Tryals and Tribulations, unto his Eternal Habitations of Rest and Glory.

Carberry, in the County of Cork,

Your Brother and Fellow-Travailer in the Kingdom and Patience of Jesus our Lord;

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Title statement

Title (uniform): A Letter of Love to the Young-Convinced

Author: William Penn

Responsibility statement

Electronic edition transcribed by: Ruth Canning

Edited at CELT and proof-read by: Beatrix Färber

Funded by: University College, Cork, School of History and Irish Research Council, New Foundations Scheme

Edition statement

1. First draft.

Extent: 3680 words

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Publisher: CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts: a project of University College, Cork

Address: College Road, Cork, Ireland —http://www.ucc.ie/celt

Date: 2017

Distributor: CELT online at University College, Cork, Ireland.

CELT document ID: E670001-003

Availability: Available with prior consent of the CELT programme for purposes of academic research and teaching only.

Source description


  • See below.

Selection of further reading

  1. My Irish Diary, 1669–1670 by William Penn. Edited by Isabel Grubb with an Introduction by Henry J. Cadbury (London: Longmans, Green and Company, 1952).
  2. William Penn, A seasonable caveat against popery (Cork: William Smith 1670).
  3. Thomas Holme and Abraham Fuller, A brief relation of some part of the sufferings of the true Christians, the people of God (in scorn called Quakers) in Ireland (1672).
  4. Samuel Fuller and Thomas Holme, A compendious view of some extraordinary sufferings of the people call'd Quakers, both in person and substance, in the kingdom of Ireland (Dublin, 1731).
  5. John Rutty, History of the Rise and Progress of the People called Quakers in Ireland from the Year 1653 to 1700 (1751).
  6. A. C. Meyers, Immigration of Irish Quakers into Pennsylvania, 1682–1750, with their early history in Ireland (Swarthmore, Pennsylvania 1902).
  7. Robert Murray, Ireland, 1603–1714 (London 1920).
  8. Isabel Grubb, Quakers in Ireland, 1654–1900 (London 1927).
  9. R. B. McDowell, 'The problem of religious dissent in Ireland, 1660–1740,' Bulletin, Irish Committee of Historical Sciences 40 (1945).
  10. Henry J. Cadbury, 'Intercepted correspondence of William Penn, 1670', The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, 70 (1946) 349–72.
  11. Mary Penington and Henry J. Cadbury, 'More Penn Correspondence, Ireland, 1669–1670', The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, 73 (1949) 9–15.
  12. Thomas E. Drake, (Review) 'My Irish Journal, 1669–1670 by William Penn; Isabel Grubb', The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, 77 (1953) 112–114.
  13. Mary Maples Dunn and Richard S. Dunn, The papers of William Penn (5 vols, Philadelphia 1981–87).
  14. Mary Maples Dunn and Richard S. Dunn, The world of William Penn (Philadelphia 1986).
  15. J. G. Simms, War and politics in Ireland: 1649–1730; edited by D.W. Hayton and Gerard O'Brien (London 1986).
  16. Helen Hatton, The largest amount of good, Quaker relief in Ireland, 1654–1921 (Montreal 1993).
  17. Phil Kilroy, Protestant dissent and controversy in Ireland, 1660–1714 (Cork 1994).
  18. W. K. Sessions, 'William Penn's tract printing in Cork in 1670' in idem, Further Irish studies in early printing history (York: Ebor Press 1994).
  19. Robert L. Greaves, God's other children: Protestant nonconformists and the emergence of denominational churches in Ireland, 1660–1700 (Stanford CA, 1997).
  20. Robert L. Greaves, Merchant-Quaker: Anthony Sharp and the community of Friends, 1643–1707 (Stanford CA, 1998).
  21. Andrew Murphy (ed.), The political writings of William Penn (Indianapolis 2002).

Concise Penn Bibliography, compiled by Ruth Canning [There is some overlap with the above list]

  1. "List of Penn Manuscripts," The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 28, No. 2 (1904), pp. 155-168.
  2. Penn, William. A Memoir of William Penn (Philadelphia, 1870).
  3. Bernet, Claus. "Marc Swanner (1639-1713): The Man Behind Fox and Penn," Quaker History, Vol. 99, No. 2 (2010), pp. 20-36.
  4. Brailsford, Mabel. The Making of William Penn (New York: Longmans, Green, and Company, 1930).
  5. Braithwaite, William C. The Beginnings of Quakerism (London: Macmillan, 1912).
  6. Braithwaite, William C. The Second Period of Quakerism (London, 1919).
  7. Broghill, Mary Pennington and Henry J. Cadbury (eds.). "More Penn Correspondence, Ireland, 1669-1670," The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 73, No. 1 (1949), pp. 9-15.
  8. Buckley, Eila. "William Penn in Dublin," Dublin Historical Record, Vol. 6, No. 3 (1944), pp. 81-90.
  9. Buranelli, Vincent. The King and the Quaker (Philadelphia, 1962).
  10. Cadbury, Henry J. "Intercepted Correspondence of William Penn, 1670," The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 70, No. 4 (1946), pp. 349-372.
  11. Calvert, Jane E. Quaker Constitutionalism and the Political Thought of John Dickinson (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001).
  12. Davies, Adrian. The Quakers in English Society, 1655-1725 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000).
  13. De Krey. "Rethinking the restoration: Dissenting Cases of Conscience, 1667-1672," Historical Journal, 38 (1995), pp. 53-83.
  14. Dunn, Richard S. and Dunn, Mary Maples (eds.). The World of William Penn (Pennsylvania, 1986).
  15. Dunn, Richard S. and Dunn, Mary Maples (eds.). The Papers of William Penn (Philadelphia, 1981-).
  16. Dunn, Mary Maples. William Penn: Politics and Conscience (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1967).
  17. Dunn, Mary Maples. "The Personality of William Penn," Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, Vol. 127, No. 5 (1983), pp. 316-321.
  18. Endy, Melvin B. Jr. William Penn and Early Quakerism (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1973).
  19. Fisher, Sydney George. The True William Penn (Philadelphia, 1899).
  20. Ford, Linda. "William Penn's Views on Women: Subjects of Friendship," Quaker History, Vol. 72, No. 2 (1983), pp. 75-102.
  21. Geiter, Mary. "William Penn and Jacobitism: A Smoking Gun?" Historical Research, Vol. 73:181 (2000), pp. 213-218.
  22. Greaves, Richard L. Enemies Under His Feet: Radicals and Nonconformists in Britain, 1664-1667 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1990).
  23. Hodges, George. William Penn (Cambridge, 1901).
  24. Holland, Rupert. William Penn (New York, 1915).
  25. Hughs, Mary. The life of William Penn (Philadelphia, 1828).
  26. Horle, Craig. The Quakers and the English Legal System 1660-1688 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1988).
  27. Ingle, H. Larry. First Among Friends: George Fox and the Creation of Quakerism (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994).
  28. Janney, Samuel Mcpherson. The Life of William Penn: with selections from his correspondence and autobiography (Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo, 1853).
  29. Leach, M Atherton. "Gulielma Maria Springett, First Wife of William Penn," The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 57, No. 2 (1933), pp. 97-116.
  30. Lockhart, Audrey. "The Quakers and Emigration From Ireland to the North American Colonies," Quaker History, Vol. 77, No. 2 (1988), pp. 67-92.
  31. Maloyed, Christie N. "A liberal Civil Religion: William Penn's Holy Experiment," Journal of Church and State, Vol. 55, No. 4 (2013), pp. 669-711.
  32. Morgan, Edmund S. "The World of William Penn," Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, Vol. 127, No. 5 (1983), pp. 291-315.
  33. Moore, Rosemary. The Light of their Consciences: The Early Quakers in Britain, 1646-1666 (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2000).
  34. Murphy, Andrew R. "The Emergence of William Penn, 1668-1671," Journal of Church and State, Vol. 57, No. 2 (2014), pp. 333-359.
  35. Murphy, Andrew R. "Trial Transcripts as Political Theory: Principles and Performance in the Penn-Mead Case," Political Theory, Vol. 41 (2013), pp. 775-808.
  36. Murphy, Andrew R. "The Limits and Promise of Political Theorizing: William Penn and the Founding of Pennsylvania,"History of Political Thought, Vol. 34 (2013), pp. 639-668.
  37. Nash, Gary B. Quakers and Politics: Pennsylvania, 1681-1726, (Princeton, 1968).
  38. Neill, Desmond. "The Quakers in Ireland," North Irish Roots, Vol. 6, No. 1 (1995), pp. 9-11.
  39. Newman, Paul Douglas. "'Good Will to all men ... from the King on the throne to the beggar on the dunghill': William Penn, the Roman Catholics, and Religious Toleration," Pennsylvania History: A Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies, Vol. 61, No. 4 (1994), pp. 457-479.
  40. Peare, Catherine O. William Penn (Philadelphia, 1957).
  41. Penn, Granville. Memorials of the professional life and times of Sir William Penn, 2 Vols., From 1644-1670 (London: 1833).
  42. Penn, William. A Collection of the Works of William Penn. 2 Vols. (London: 1726) The book can be found on www.archive.org and contains a list of further publications by Penn: https://archive.org/stream/collectionofwork01penn#page/n18/mode/1up.
  43. Pincus, Steve. 1688: The First Modern Revolution (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2009).
  44. Robbins, Caroline. "The Papers of William Penn," The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 93, No. 1 (1969), pp. 3-12.
  45. Schwartz, Sally. "William Penn and Toleration: Foundations of Colonial Pennsylvania," Pennsylvania History: A Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies, Vol. 50, No. 4 (1983), pp. 284-312.
  46. Sutto, Antoinette. The borders of Absolutism: William Penn, Chalres Calvert, and the Limits of Royal Authority, 1680-1685," Pennsylvania History: A Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies, Vol. 76, No. 3 (2009), pp. 276-300.
  47. Vann, Richard. The Social Development of English Quakerism 1655-1755 (Cambridge, Mass., 1969).
  48. Wainwright, Nicholas B. "The Penn Collection," The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 87, No. 4 (1963), pp. 393-419.
  49. Wight, Thomas. A History of the Rise and Progress of the People called Quakers in Ireland (1811).
  50. Young Kunze, Bonnelyn. "Religious Authority and Social Status in Seventeenth-Century England: The Friendship of Margaret Fell, George Fox, and William Penn," Church History, Vol. 57, No. 2 (1988), pp. 170-186.

The edition used in the digital edition

Penn, William (1669). A Letter of Love to the Young-Convinced‍. 1st ed. 7 pages. London: [publisher not identified].

You can add this reference to your bibliographic database by copying or downloading the following:

  title 	 = {A Letter of Love to the Young-Convinced},
  author 	 = {William Penn},
  edition 	 = {1},
  note 	 = {7 pages},
  publisher 	 = {[publisher not identified]},
  address 	 = {London },
  date 	 = {1669}


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Creation: By William Penn (1644–1718)

Date: 1669

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  • The text is in seventeenth-century English. (en)

Keywords: prose; letter; quakerism; religion; 17c; Quakers

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  1. 2019-06-05: Changes made to div0 type. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  2. 2017-01-12: SGML and HTML files created. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  3. 2017-01-12: File proofed (1); TEI header created using material from the companion file. File parsed and validated. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  4. 2017-01-12: File converted to XML, encoding modified accordingly. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  5. 2017-01-11: Concise Penn Bibliography supplied. (ed. Ruth Canning)
  6. 2016-08-22: Text transcribed from hardcopy to Word file. (data capture Ruth Canning)

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