Jul
01

Practicing the Presence – Pt. 11

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This post comes from the classic Christian devotional by Bro. Lawrence (Lawrence, Brother (Nicholas Herman, c. 1605-1691) who was a monk in the 1600’s. His simple but profound writings are an encouragement to believers today who desire to discover the presence of God in the midst of any chore, circumstance or crisis. It is truly gold for those desiring to live with a greater awareness of God’s presence in their lives. There are numerous postings from this work. You can view them all under the category, PRACTICING THE PRESENCE.

The material for the PRACTICING THE PRESENCE category was acquired from the (UTF-8) free text version through Christian Classics Ethereal Library at Calvin College, http://www.ccel.org  This site is a great resource for Classic public domain materials such as this.

SIXTH LETTER

To a member of the order who had received from him a book, and to whom
he again enlarges on his favourite topic. * Encouragement to persevere.

I HAVE received from Mrs. – the things which you gave her for me. I
wonder that you have not given me your thoughts of the little book I
sent to you, and which you must have received. Pray set heartily about
the practice of it in your old age; it is better late than never.

I cannot imagine how religious persons can live satisfied without the
practice of the presence of GOD. For my part I keep myself retired with
Him in the depth of centre of my soul as much as I can; and while I am
so with Him I fear nothing; but the least turning from Him is
insupportable.

This exercise does not much fatigue the body: it is, however, proper to
deprive it sometimes, nay often, of many little pleasures which are
innocent and lawful: for GOD will not permit that a soul which desires
to be devoted entirely to Him should take other pleasures than with
Him; that is more than reasonable.

I do not say that therefore we must put any violent constraint upon
ourselves. No, we must serve GOD in a holy freedom, we must do our
business faithfully, without trouble or disquiet; recalling our mind to
GOD mildly and with tranquillity, as often as we find it wandering from
Him.

It is, however, necessary to put our whole trust in GOD, laying aside
all other cares, and even some particular forms of devotion, though
very good in themselves, yet such as one often engages in unreasonably:
because those devotions are only means to attain to the end; so when by
this exercise of the presence of GOD we are with Him who is our end, it
is then useless to return to the means; but we may continue with Him
our commerce of love, persevering in His holy presence: one while by an
act of praise, of adoration, or of desire; one while by an act of
resignation, or thanksgiving; and in all the manner which our spirit
can invent.

Be not discouraged by the repugnance which you may find in it from
nature; you must do yourself violence. At the first, one often thinks
it lost time; but you must go on, and resolve to persevere in it to
death, notwithstanding all the difficulties that may occur. I recommend
myself to the prayers of your holy society, and yours in particular. I
am yours in our LORD.
 

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