Jul
01

Practicing the Presence – Pt. 9

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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.

FOURTH LETTER

Writes of himself as of a third person, and encourages his
correspondent to press on to fuller practising of the Presence of God.

I HAVE taken this opportunity to communicate to you the sentiments of
one of our society concerning the admirable effects and continual
assistances which he receives from the presence of GOD. Let you and me
both profit by them.

You must know, his continual care has been, for above forty years past
that he has spent in religion, to be always with GOD; and to do
nothing, say nothing, and think nothing which may displease Him; and
this without any other view than purely for the love of Him, and
because He deserves infinitely more.

He is now so accustomed to that Divine presence, that he receives from
it continual succours upon all occasions. For about thirty years, his
soul has been filled with joys so continual, and sometimes so great,
that he is forced to use means to moderate them, and to hinder their
appearing outwardly.

If sometimes he is a little too much absent from that Divine presence,
GOD presently makes Himself to be felt in his soul to recall him; which
often happens when he is most engaged in his outward business: he
answers with exact fidelity to these inward drawings, either by an
elevation of his heart towards GOD, or by a meek and fond regard to
Him, or by such words as love forms upon these occasions; as for
instance, My GOD, here I am all devoted to Thee: LORD, make me
according to Thy heart. And then it seems to him (as in effect he feels
it) that this GOD of love, satisfied with such few words, reposes
again, and rests in the depth and centre of his soul. The experience of
these things gives him such an assurance that GOD is always in the
depth or bottom of his soul, and renders him incapable of doubting it,
upon any account whatever.

Judge by this what content and satisfaction he enjoys, while he
continually finds in himself so great a treasure: he is no longer in an
anxious search after it, but has it open before him, and may take what
he pleases of it.

He complains much of our blindness; and cries often that we are to be
pitied who content ourselves with so little. GOD, saith he, has
infinite treasure to bestow, and we take up with a little sensible
devotion which passes in a moment. Blind as we are, we hinder GOD, and
stop the current of His graces. But when He finds a soul penetrated
with a lively faith, He pours into it His graces and favours
plentifully; there they flow like a torrent, which, after being
forcibly stopped against its ordinary course, when it has found a
passage, spreads itself with impetuosity and abundance.

Yes, we often stop this torrent, by the little value we set upon it.
But let us stop it no more: let us enter into ourselves and break down
the bank which hinders it. Let us make way for grace; let us redeem the
lost time, for perhaps we have but little left; death follows us close,
let us be well prepared for it; for we die but once, and a miscarriage
there is irretrievable.

I say again, let us enter into ourselves. The time presses: there is no
room for delay; our souls are at stake. I believe you have taken such
effectual measures, that you will not be surprised. I commend you for
it, it is the one thing necessary: we must, nevertheless, always work
at it, because not to advance, in the spiritual life, is to go back.
But those who have the gale of the HOLY SPIRIT go forward even in
sleep. If the vessel of our soul is still tossed with winds and storms,
let us awake the LORD, who reposes in it, and He will quickly calm the
sea.

I have taken the liberty to impart to you these good sentiments, that
you may compare them with your own: they will serve again to kindle and
inflame them, if by misfortune (which GOD forbid, for it would be
indeed a great misfortune) they should be, though never so little,
cooled. Let us then both recall our first fervours. Let us profit by
the example and the sentiments of this brother, who is little known of
the world, but known of GOD, and extremely caressed by Him. I will pray
for you; do you pray instantly for me, who am yours in our LORD.
 

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