Revisiting Brother Lawrence, Part 1

God’s WORD

“But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.”—Ephesians 2:13

“How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”—Hebrews 9:14

“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:”—1 Peter 1:18, 19

“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”—1 John 1:7

“This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.”—1 John 5:6

“And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,”—Revelation 1:5

In the next three posts, I will revisit Brother Lawrence, write some more about his life, quote some excerpts from his book, “Practice the Presence of God,” (including his statement regarding “the All”), and then discuss the Satanic roots
of “the All,” which has been such a part of mysticism from around the world and throughout the ages.

Nicholas Herman aka Brother Lawrence (abt 1610 to 1691)
Nicholas (Brother Lawrence) was born in France, and when a young man, fought in the Thirty Years War in which a near fatal injury to his sciatic nerve left him quite crippled and in chronic pain. Nicholas received some of his education from the parish priest he admired, and whose first name was Lawrence. After leaving the army, Nicholas spent time living like the early desert fathers, afterwhich, he served as a footman in private service before entering a monastery in Paris at mid-life. In this newly established monastery, Brother Lawrence became the community cook. After 15 years, he changed to repairing sandals, but often returned to the kitchen to help.

After his death, a few of Brother Lawrence’s letters were published by Joseph De Beaufort, counsel to the Paris archbishop, who had interviewed Brother Lawrence when he was in his late fifties and in charge of upkeep of 100 pairs of sandals. The next year, when Beaufort published the letters, he titled the small book, “Practice the Presence of God”, and added four conversations he had had with Brother Lawrence as an introduction.

From the First Conversation:
The first time I saw Brother Lawrence was on the 3rd of August, 1666. He told me that God had done him a singular favor in his conversion at the age of eighteen. During that winter, upon 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; Brother Lawrence received a high view of the providence and power of God which has never since been effaced from his soul. This view had perfectly set him free from the world and kindled in him such a love for God, that he could not tell whether it had increased in the forty years that he had lived since.

My comment
A conversion is when you acknowledge you are a sinner, and trust in Jesus’ shed blood on the cross as your only way to God. There is no relationship with God except through Jesus. This is a Christ-less, cross-less conversion, and hence, not a conversion. There is no good in us.

God’s WORD

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”—Jeremiah 17:9

“For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth
no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how
to perform that which is good I find not.”—Romans 7:18

“But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade
as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken
us away.”—Isaiah 64:6

“They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good,
no, not one.”—Romans 3:12

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
—John 14:6

Second Conversation:
“Brother Lawrence told me he had always been governed by love without selfish views. Since he resolved to make the love of God the end of all his actions, he had found reasons to be well satisfied with his method…He said he had been long troubled in mind from a certain belief that he should be damned…This trouble of mind lasted four years, during which time he suffered greatly.
Finally he reasoned: I did not engage in a religious life but for the love of God. I have endeavored to act only for Him. Whatever becomes of me, whether I be lost or saved, I will always continue to act purely for the love of God. I shall have this good at least that until death I shall have done all that is in me to love Him…”

Skipping to the Letters
Introduction: Brother Lawrence’s letters are the very heart and soul of what is titled ‘The Practice of the Presence of God’. All of these letters were written during the last ten years of his life. Many of them were to long-time friends, a Carmelite sister and another nun at a nearby convent. One or both of these friends were from his native village, perhaps relatives.

First Letter: You so earnestly desire that I describe the method by which I arrived at that habitual sense of God’s presence, which our merciful Lord has been pleased to grant me…The account I can give you is: Having found in many books different methods of going to God and diverse 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. 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 God; and I began to live as if there was none but He and I in the world…

My comment
The LORD Jesus gave everything for me, I have NOTHING to give Him. He offers me forgiveness and a new life with His righteousness—something Brother Lawrence didn’t seem to understand.

From Letter 2
For the first years, I commonly employed myself during the time set apart for devotion with thoughts of death, judgment, hell, heaven, and my sins. I continued, for some years, applying my mind carefully the rest of the day, and even in the midst of my work, to the presence of God, whom I considered always as with me, often as in my heart…Ever since that time I walk before God simply, in faith, with humility, and with love. I apply myself diligently to do nothing and think nothing which may displease Him. I hope that when I have done what I can, He will do with me what He pleases.

Fourth Letter
I am taking this opportunity to tell you about the sentiments of one of our society concerning the admirable effects and continual assistance he receives from the presence of God. May we both profit by them. For the past forty years his continual care has been to be always with God; and to do nothing, say nothing, and think nothing which may displease Him. He does this without any view or motive except pure love of Him and because God deserves infinitely more. He is now so accustomed to that divine presence that he receives from God continual comfort and peace. For about thirty years his soul has been filled with joy and delight so continual, and sometimes so great, that he is forced to find ways to hide their appearing outwardly to others who may not understand.

My Comment
The biblical idea is that only God is glorified, not how devoted I am to Him.

God’s WORD

But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;

“And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence.

“But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”—1 Corinthians 1:28–31

“Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.

“Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”—Romans 3:19, 20

Part 2

Part 3

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