Chapter 24 » 24.21
The dilemmas of the pacifist stand
I speak not against any magistrates or peoples defending themselves against foreign invasions; or making use of the sword to suppress the violent and evil-doers within their borders – for this the present estate of things may and doth require, and a great blessing will attend the sword where it is borne uprightly to that end and its use will be honourable … but yet there is a better state, which the Lord hath already brought some into, and which nations are to expect and to travel towards. There is to be a time when ‘nation shall not lift up sword against nation; neither shall they learn war any more’. When the power of the Gospel spreads over the whole earth, thus shall it be throughout the earth, and, where the power of the Spirit takes hold of and overcomes any heart at present, thus will it be at present with that heart. This blessed state, which shall be brought forth [in society] at large in God’s season, must begin in particulars [that is, in individuals].
Isaac Penington, 1661