001) First Conversation


Conversion and precious employment. þ Satisfaction in God’s presence.
þ Faith our duty. þ Resignation the fruit of watchfulness.
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
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 visit him.

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