Source: Para 5, Isaac Penington to Widow Hemmings (1670), by Isaac Penington

The Lord so guide thee, manifest himself to thee, help thee, and lead thee by his Holy Spirit and power, as that thou mayst come undeniably to experience, and to be satisfied by him about these things. And mind not so much to know, as to be obedient <445> [sic] and subjected to the Lord, both in thy heart and in thy conversation also, in the least thing that he makes manifest.

1. What's the subject of the verb mind? How do you determine/deduce this?

2. Does this para reveal what is the least > thing that he makes manifest?

  • 1
    It's the "pay attention" sense, as in "mind the gap!" or "pay him no mind" or "mind your manners", etc. You determine/deduce this by recognizing there are only a finite number of established meanings for "mind", and that's the only one which fits in this context, as well as having a broad enough exposure to English to recognize it there. The "least thing he makes manifest" is not a specific entity, but an extension of the admonishment to pay attention to God, and even the smallest detail he reveals to you. – Dan Bron Jan 29 '15 at 21:49
  • @DanBron Thank you! I remember your preference for comments but wanted to express my thanks. – Accounting Jan 29 '15 at 21:53
  • No problem @Law (by the way, given the nature of your inquiry, I might have more clearly expressed the sense as "regard X as important", rather than "pay attention to"). – Dan Bron Jan 29 '15 at 21:58
  • It could be an imperative. But it could be a sentence fragment continuing the list after '... thou mayst come undeniably to' (where a comma would be less ambiguous, but give a heavy sentence). – Edwin Ashworth Jan 29 '15 at 23:01

The implied subject of the imperative mind would be thou.


3.3 [IN IMPERATIVE] Be careful about the quality or nature of:

The phrase, in the least thing that he makes manifest, modifies the compound object of the infinitive phrase: to be obedient and and subject. A decent modern paraphrase becomes:

"Be careful ... to be obedient ... in every detail of what he shows you."

Some would point out, with a degree of merit, Penington's earlier statement:

The Lord...manifest himself to thee ... and lead thee ... to experience, and to be satisfied by him...

It is not conclusive by any means, but a legitimate theory is that G-d himself is what is being manifest to Pennington's students, implying the paraphrase:

"Be careful ... to be obedient ... in every detail of G-d."

Regardless, the details of what might be manifest are not revealed in the paragraph.

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  1. thou (you). That is generally the understood subject of an imperative in English.

  2. No.

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