Conversion and previous employment. * Satisfaction in
God’s presence. * Faith our duty. * Resignation the fruit of
THE first time I saw Brother Lawrence was upon the 3rd of
August, 1666. He told me that GOD had done him a singular favour,
in his conversion at the age of eighteen.
That in the winter, seeing a tree stripped of its leaves, and
considering that within a little time, the leaves would be renewed,
and after that the flowers and fruit appear, he received a high
view of the Providence and Power of GOD, which has never since been
effaced from his soul. That this view had perfectly set him loose
from the world, and kindled in him such a love for GOD, that he
could not tell whether it had increased in above forty years that
he had lived since.
That he had been footman to M. Fieubert, the treasurer, and that
he was a great awkward fellow who broke everything.
That he had desired to be received into a monastery, thinking
that he would there be made to smart for his awkwardness and the
faults he should commit, and so he should sacrifice to GOD his
life, with its pleasures: but that GOD had disappointed him, he
having met with nothing but satisfaction in that state.
That we should establish ourselves in a sense of GOD’s Presence,
by continually conversing with Him. That it was a shameful thing to
quit His conversation, to think of trifles and fooleries.
That we should feed and nourish our souls with high notions of
GOD; which would yield us great joy in being devoted to Him.
That we ought to quicken, i.e., to enliven, our faith. That it
was lamentable we had so little; and that instead of taking faith
for the rule of their conduct, men amused themselves with trivial
devotions, which changed daily. That the way of Faith was the
spirit of the Church, and that it was sufficient to bring us to a
high degree of perfection.
That we ought to give ourselves up to GOD, with regard both to
things temporal and spiritual, and seek our satisfaction only in
the fulfilling of His will, whether He lead us by suffering or by
consolation, for all would be equal to a soul truly resigned. That
there needed fidelity in those drynesses, or insensibilities and
irksomenesses in prayer, by which GOD tries our love to Him; that
then was the time for us to make good and effectual acts of
resignation, whereof one alone would oftentimes very much promote
our spiritual advancement.
That as for the miseries and sins he heard of daily in the
world, he was so far from wondering at them, that, on the contrary,
he was surprised there were not more, considering the malice
sinners were capable of: that for his part, he prayed for them; but
knowing that GOD could remedy the mischiefs they did, when He
pleased, he gave himself no farther trouble.
That to arrive at such resignation as GOD requires, we should
watch attentively over all the passions which mingle as well in
spiritual things as those of a grosser nature: that GOD would give
light concerning those passions to those who truly desire to serve
Him. That if this was my design, viz., sincerely to serve GOD, I
might come to him (Bro. Lawrence) as often as I pleased, without
any fear of being troublesome; but if not, that I ought no more to