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Brother Lawrence
1614 -1691

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Biography Brother Lawrence, Carmelite lay brother
      Brother Lawrence was born Nicholas Herman in the region of Lorraine, located in modern day eastern France. He received a revelation of the providence and power of God at the age of 18, but it would be another six years before he joined the Discalced Carmelite Prior in Paris. In this intervening period he fought in the Thirty Years' War and later se ...read
Letter 1. FIRST LETTER. How the habitual sense of God's Presence was found.
      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 m ...read
Letter 2. SECOND LETTER. Difference between himself and others.
       Faith alone consistently and persistently. 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 ...read
Letter 3. THIRD LETTER. For a soldier friend whom he encourages to trust in God.
      WE have a GOD who is infinitely gracious, and knows all our wants. I always thought that He would reduce you to extremity. He will come in His own time, and when you least expect it. Hope in Him more than ever: thank Him with me for the favors He does you, particularly for the fortitude and patience which He gives you in your afflictions: it is a p ...read
Letter 4. FOURTH LETTER. Press on to fuller practicing of the Presence of God
       Writes of himself as of a third person, and encourages his correspondent to press on to fuller practicing of the Presence of God. I HAVE taken this opportunity to communicate to you the sentiments of one of our society concerning the admirable effects and continual assistances which he receives from the presence of GOD. Let you and me both profi ...read
Letter 5. FIFTH LETTER. Prayer for a sister who is about to make a vow and profession.
       A fresh insisting upon the necessity and virtue of practicing 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 ...read
Letter 6. SIXTH LETTER. Encouragement to persevere.
       To a member of the order who had received from him a book, and to whom he again enlarges on his favorite topic. I HAVE received from Mrs.__ 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 ...read
Letter 7. SEVENTH LETTER. Live and Die With God
       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 remembran ...read
Letter 8. EIGHTH LETTER. 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 con ...read
Letter 9. NINTH LETTER. To a corresponding sister
       Enclosing a letter to a corresponding sister, whom he regards with respect tinged with fear. His old theme concisely put. THE enclosed is an answer to that which I received from __; pray deliver it to her. She seems to me full of good will, but she would go faster than grace. One does not become holy all at once. I recommend her to you: we ought ...read
Letter10. TENTH LETTER. The loss of a friend
       Has difficulty, but sacrifices his will, to write as requested. The loss of a friend may lead to acquaintance with the Friend. I HAVE had a good deal of difficulty to bring myself to write to M__, and I do it now purely because you and Madam desire me. Pray write the directions and send it to him. I am very well pleased with the trust which you ...read
Letter11. ELEVENTH LETTER. To one who is in great pain.
      God is the Physician of body and of soul. Feels that he would gladly suffer at His wish. I DO not pray that you may be delivered from your pains; but I pray GOD earnestly that He would give you strength and patience to bear them as long as He pleases. Comfort yourself with Him who holds you fastened to the cross: He will loose you when He thinks fi ...read
Letter12. TWELFTH LETTER. Abiding comfort through faith
       To the same correspondent probably, and expresses his own abiding comfort through faith. IF we were well accustomed to the exercise of the presence of GOD, all bodily diseases would be much alleviated thereby. GOD often permits that we should suffer a little, to purify our souls, and oblige us to continue with Him. Take courage, offer Him your ...read
Letter13. THIRTEENTH LETTER. Entire confidence in God
       To the same he exhorts for fuller and entire confidence in God, for body and soul. I AM in pain to see you suffer so long; what gives me some ease, and sweetens the feeling I have of your griefs, is that they are proofs of GOD's love towards you: see them in that view, and you will bear them more easily. As your case is, 'tis my opinion that you ...read
Letter14. FOURTEENTH LETTER. Consolation in his suffering
       Gratitude, for mercies to his correspondent, and measure of relief while he has himself been near death, but with consolation in his suffering. I RENDER thanks to our LORD, for having relieved you a little, according to your desire. I have been often near expiring, though I was never so much satisfied as then. Accordingly I did not pray for any ...read
Letter15. FIFTEENTH LETTER. From his death-bed
       From his death-bed. Repeats the same exhortation to knowledge, that we may love. GOD knoweth best what is needful for us, and all that He does is for our good. If we knew how much He loves us, we should be always ready to receive equally and with indifference from His hand the sweet and the bitter; all would please that came from Him. The sorest ...read

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