Prayer for a sister who is about to make a vow and profession.  A

fresh insisting upon the necessity and virtue of practising the Presence

of God.

I RECEIVED this day two books and a letter from Sister, who is preparing

to make her profession, and upon that account desires the prayers of

your holy society, and yours in particular. I perceive that she reckons

much upon them; pray do not disappoint her. Beg of GOD that she may

make her sacrifice in the view of His love alone, and with a firm

resolution to be wholly devoted to Him.

I will send you one of those books which treat of the presence of GOD;

a subject which, in my opinion, contains the whole spiritual life; and

it seems to me that whoever duly practises it will soon become


I know that for the right practice of it, the heart must be empty of all

other things; because GOD will possess the heart alone; and as He

cannot possess it alone, without emptying it of all besides, so neither

can He act there, and do in it what He pleases, unless it be left vacant

to Him.

There is not in the world a kind of life more sweet and delightful, than

that of a continual conversation with GOD: those only can comprehend it

who practise and experience it; yet I do not advise you to do it from

that motive; it is not pleasure which we ought to seek in this

exercise; but let us do it from a principle of love, and because GOD

would have us.

Were I a preacher, I should above all other things preach the practice

of the presence of GOD; and were I a director, I should advise all the

world to do it: so necessary do I think it, and so easy too.

Ah! knew we but the want we have of the grace and assistance of GOD, we

should never lose sight of Him, no, not for a moment. Believe me; make

immediately a holy and firm resolution never more wilfully to forget

Him, and to spend the rest of your days in His sacred presence, deprived

for the love of Him, if He thinks fit, of all consolations.

Set heartily about this work, and if you do it as you ought, be assured

that you will soon find the effects of it. I will assist you with my

prayers, poor as they are: I recommend myself earnestly to yours, and

those of your holy society.


To a member of the order who had received from him a book, and to whom

he again enlarges on his favourite topic. þ Encouragement to persevere.

I HAVE received from Mrs. þ- 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


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


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