[Question] What is it to believe in the light?
[Answer] To receive its testimony either concerning good or evil, and so either to turn towards or from, in the will and power which the light begets in the heart.
[Question] How will this save me?
[Answer] By this means; that in thee which destroys thee, and separates thee from the living God, is daily wrought out, and the heart daily changed into the image of him who is light, and brought into unity and fellowship with the light, possessing of it, and being possessed by it; and this is salvation.
[Question] We thought salvation had been a thing to be bestowed hereafter, after the death of the body; but if it be thus, then salvation is wrought out here.
[Answer] So it is, even in all that are saved; for there is no working of it out hereafter, but here it is wrought out with fear and trembling; and the believer, who is truly in unity with the life, daily changed from glory to glory, as by the spirit of the Lord.
[Question] But show more particularly how faith, or believing in the light, worketh out the salvation.
- First, it causeth a fear and trembling to seize upon the sinner. The Lord God Almighty, by the rising of his light in the heart, causeth the powers of darkness to shake, the earth to tremble, the hills and mountains to melt, and the goodly fruit-trees to cast their fruit; and then the plant of the Lord springs up out of the dry and barren ground, which by the dews and showers from above, thrives, grows, and spreads till it fills God’s earth.
- In this fear and trembling the work of true repentance and conversion is begun and carried on. There is a turning of the soul from the darkness to the light; from the dark power to the light power; from the spirit of deceit to the spirit of truth; from all false appearance and imaginations about holiness, to that which the eternal light manifesteth to be truly so. And now is a time of mourning, of deep mourning, while the separation is working; while the enemy’s strength is not broken and subdued, and while the heart is now and then feeling itself still hankering after its old lovers.
- In the belief of the light, and in the fear placed in the heart, there springs up a hope, a living hope, in the living principle, which hath manifested itself, and begun to work. For the soul truly turning to the light, the everlasting arm, the living power is felt; and the anchor being felt, it stays the soul in all the troubles, storms, and tempests it meets with afterwards; which are many, yea, very many.
- Faith, through the hope, works righteousness, and teaches the true wisdom; and now the benefit of all the former trouble, anguish, and misery begins to be felt, and the work goes on sweetly. All the unrighteousness is in the darkness, in the unbelief, in the false hope. Faith in the light works out the unrighteousness, and works in the righteousness of God, in Christ. And it makes truly wise, wise in the living power; even wise against the evil, and to the good, which no man can learn elsewhere.
- In the righteousness, and in the true wisdom which is received in the light, there springs up a love, and a unity, and fellowship with God, the Father of lights, and with all who are children of the light. Being begotten by Christ, the light, into the nature of the light, and brought forth in the image, there is a unity soon felt with God, the Father, and with those who are born of the same womb, and partake of the same nature. And here are a willingness and power felt in this love, to lay down the life, even for the least truth of Christ’s or for the brethren.
- Belief in the light works patience, meekness, gentleness, tenderness, and long-suffering. It will bear any thing for God, any thing for men’s souls’ sake. It will wait quietly and stilly for the carrying on of the work of God in its own soul, and for the manifestation of God’s love and mercy to others. It will bear the contradiction and reproach of sinners, seeking their good, even while they are plotting, contriving, and hatching mischief; laying many subtle snares, and longing thereby to entrap the innocent.
- It brings peace, joy, and glory. Faith in the light breaks down the wall of darkness, the wall of partition, that which separates from the peace, that which causeth the anguish and trouble upon the soul, and so brings into peace. Christ is the skilful Physician; he cures the disease, by removing the cause. The unskilful physicians, they heal deceitfully; crying, Peace, peace, when there is no peace, while that which breaks the peace is standing: but Christ doth not so, but slays the enmity in the heart by the blood of his cross, so making peace. And this is true peace, and certain peace.
Now finding the clods of earth removed, the enemy, the disturber, the peace-breaker trodden down, the sin taken away, the life and power present, the soul brought into the peace; here is joy, unspeakable joy! joy which the world cannot see or touch, nor the powers of darkness come near to interrupt. Here is now no more crying out, O wretched man! and who shall deliver! &c., but a rejoicing in him who hath given victory, and made the soul a conqueror; yea, more than a conqueror. Wait to feel that, thou who art now groaning, and oppressed by the merciless powers of darkness.
And this joy is full of glory; which glory increaseth daily more and more, by the daily sight and feeling of the living virtue and power in Christ the light; whereby the soul is continually transformed, and changed more and more, out of the corruptible into the incorruptible; out of the uncircumcision, the shame, the reproach, into the circumcision, the life, the glory.
[Question] Doth the light do all this?
[Answer] Yea, in them that turn towards it, give up to it, and abide in it. In them it cleanseth out the thickness and darkness, and daily transformeth them into the image, purity, and perfection of the light. And this nothing can do but the light alone.
From The Scattered Sheep Sought After, written by Isaac Penington