'No Cross No Crown' was written while Penn was imprisoned in the Tower of London for the “blasphemy” of a pamphlet, 'The Sandy Foundation Shaken', in which he had criticized what were regarded as the strongholds of Christianity. His purpose in writing 'No Cross No Crown' was, in his words, “to show the nature and discipline of the holy Cross of Christ; and that the denial of self … is the alone way to the Rest and Kingdom of God.” While this was a familiar theme with mystics, in the tract Penn interprets the cross with the highest of puritan rigor, denouncing luxury and the common ways of society. Penn's effort was meant to be viewed as a warning against wrath that was to come, and only incidentally served as an invitation to enjoy the crown of rest in the kingdom here and now.
A scarce work, with only four other copies having been offered at auction in the last century
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