“They that love beyond the world cannot be separated by it. Death cannot kill what never dies. Nor can spirits ever be divided, that love and live in the same divine principle, the root and record of their friendship. If absence be not death, neither is theirs. Death is but crossing the world, as friends do the seas; they live in one another still. For they must needs be present, that love and live in that which is omnipresent. In this divine glass they see face to face; and their converse is free, as well as pure. This is the comfort of friends, that though they may be said to die, yet their friendship and society are, in the best sense, ever present, because immortal.” – William Penn, Fruits of Solitude
Whenever I am tempted to think on how harsh it is for Christians in the public square today, I find myself first fighting that our presence is always there. Then after hearing disparaging things said to me or about me, I find my peace in two things. First, that as long as I have God’s love and that of my lady and two princesses, nothing much else matters all that deeply to me. Secondly, I find myself thinking on the past.
On this day, September 1, 1670, William Penn was arrested for preaching in London. It is not like he or his fellow Quakers were doing more than peacefully assembling and worshipping as they believed was right. And there he was – arrested. Yet, we think that we have it rough.
It certainly makes sense as to why the Founding Fathers protected this right to practice one’s conscience freely and not have government interfere with Freedom of Speech or Freedom of Religion. Still, I wish we were taught where these freedoms stem from more these days and that maybe some of my more irreligious friends and acquaintances might know that that the clause has to do with freedom of not freedom from… No worries, as long as I am still breathing, they’ll be reminded.
William Penn’s Fruits of Solitude can be read beginning here:
While this work is not available via audiobook format, there is a documentary worth viewing that provides a good background on the man, the Quaker denomination and the grand experiment that became Pennsylvania. It is available to be seen here