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.


At the age of nearly fourscore exhorts his correspondent, who is

sixty-four, to live and die with God and promises and asks for prayer.

I PITY you much. It will be of great importance if you can leave the

care of your affairs to, and spend the remainder of your life only in

worshipping GOD. He requires no great matters of us; a little

remembrance of Him from time to time, a little adoration: sometimes to

pray for His grace, sometimes to offer Him your sufferings, and

sometimes to return Him thanks for the favours He has given you, and

still gives you, in the midst of your troubles, and to console yourself

with Him the oftenest you can. Lift up your heart to Him, sometimes

even at your meals, and when you are in company: the least little

remembrance will always be acceptable to Him. You need not cry very

loud; He is nearer to us than we are aware of.

It is not necessary for being with GOD to be always at church; we may

make an oratory of our heart, wherein to retire from time to time, to

converse with Him in meekness, humility, and love. Every one is capable

of such familiar conversation with GOD, some more, some less: He knows

what we can do. Let us begin then; perhaps He expects but one generous

resolution on our part. Have courage. We have but little time to live;

you are near sixty-four, and I am almost eighty. Let us live and die

with GOD: sufferings will be sweet and pleasant to us, while we are

with Him: and the greatest pleasures will be, without Him, a cruel

punishment to us. May He be blessed for all. Amen.

Use yourself then by degrees thus to worship Him, to beg His grace, to

offer Him your heart from time to time, in the midst of your business,

even every moment if you can. Do not always scrupulously confine

yourself to certain rules, or particular forms of devotion; but act

with a general confidence in GOD, with love and humility. You may

assure þ- of my poor prayers, and that I am their servant, and yours



Concerning wandering thoughts in prayer.

YOU tell me nothing new: you are not the only one that is troubled with

wandering thoughts. Our mind is extremely roving; but as the will is

mistress of all our faculties, she must recall them, and carry them to

GOD, as their last end.

When the mind, for want of being sufficiently reduced by recollection,

at our first engaging in devotion, has contracted certain bad habits of

wandering and dissipation, they are difficult to overcome, and commonly

draw us, even against our wills, to the things of the earth.

I believe one remedy for this is, to confess our faults, and to humble

ourselves before GOD. I do not advise you to use multiplicity of words

in prayer; many words and long discourses being often the occasions of

wandering: hold yourself in prayer before GOD, like a dumb or paralytic

beggar at a rich man's gate: let it be your business to keep your mind

in the presence of the LORD. If it sometimes wander, and withdraw

itself from Him, do not much disquiet yourself for that; trouble and

disquiet serve rather to distract the mind, than to re-collect it; the

will must bring it back in tranquillity; if you persevere in this