SINCE you desire so earnestly that I should communicate to you the

method by which I arrived at that habitual sense of GOD's Presence,

which our LORD, of His mercy, has been pleased to vouchsafe to me; I

must tell you, that it is with great difficulty that I am prevailed on

by your importunities; and now I do it only upon the terms, that you

show my letter to nobody. If I knew that you would let it be seen, all

the desire that I have for your advancement would not be able to

determine me to it. The account I can give you is:

Having found in many books different methods of going to GOD, and divers

practices of the spiritual life, I thought this would serve rather to

puzzle me, than facilitate what I sought after, which was nothing but

how to become wholly GOD's.

This made me resolve to give the all for the All: so after having given

myself wholly to GOD, to make all the satisfaction I could for my sins,

I renounced, for the love of Him, everything that was not He; and I

began to live as if there was none but He and I in the world. Sometimes

I considered myself before Him as a poor criminal at the feet of his

judge; at other times I beheld Him in my heart as my FATHER, as my GOD:

I worshipped Him the oftenest that I could, keeping my mind in His holy

Presence, and recalling it as often as I found it wandered from Him. I

found no small pain in this exercise, and yet I continued it,

notwithstanding all the difficulties that occurred, without troubling or

disquieting myself when my mind had wandered involuntarily. I made this

my business, as much all the day long as at the appointed times of

prayer; for at all times, every hour, every minute, even in the height

of my business, I drove away from my mind everything that was capable of

interrupting my thought of GOD.

Such has been my common practice ever since I entered into religion;

and though I have done it very imperfectly, yet I have found great

advantages by it. These, I well know, are to be imputed to the mere

mercy and goodness of GOD, because we can do nothing without Him; and I

still less than any. But when we are faithful to keep ourselves in His

holy Presence, and set Him always before us, this not only hinders our

offending Him, and doing anything that may displease Him, at least

wilfully, but it also begets in us a holy freedom, and if I may so

speak, a familiarity with GOD, wherewith we ask, and that successfully,

the graces we stand in need of. In fine, by often repeating these acts,

they become habitual, and the presence of GOD is rendered as it were

natural to us. Give Him thanks, if you please, with me, for His great

goodness towards me, which I can never sufficiently admire, for the many

favours He has done to so miserable a sinner as I am. May all things

praise Him. Amen.


Difference between himself and others. þ Faith alone consistently and

persistently. þ Deprecates this state being considered a delusion.

NOT finding my manner of life in books, although I have no difficulty

about it, yet, for greater security, I shall be glad to know your

thoughts concerning it.

In a conversation some days since with a person of piety, he told me the

spiritual life was a life of grace, which begins with servile fear,

which is increased by hope of eternal life, and which is consummated by

pure love; that each of these states had its different stages, by which

one arrives at last at that blessed consummation.

I have not followed all these methods. On the contrary, from I know not

what instincts, I found they discouraged me. This was the reason why,

at my entrance into religion, I took a resolution to give myself up to

GOD, as the best satisfaction I could make for my sins; and, for the

love of Him, to renounce all besides.

For the first years, I commonly employed myself during the time set

apart for devotion, with the thoughts of death, judgement, hell, heaven,

and my sins. Thus I continued some years applying my mind carefully the

rest of the day, and even in the midst of my business, to the presence