How to seek God and His face

First published in Russian translation of the main work of an outstanding religious thinker Tersteegen Gerhard (1697-1769) “the Way of truth”. In his book Terstegen speaks about the essence of the Christian life is about the internal indwelling of Christ and a heart to follow Him. In his reflections he refers to a Christian of any denomination and any level of Church life. His teachings about love for God and about following Christ, of sanctification by faith must be not only interesting to the modern reader, but can be an effective guide. Today, as in the ways of faith of many Christians waylaid time of frustration and chilling, this work is able to open a new clear reading of the inner spiritual life of a Christian. The book of Gerhard Terstegen continues the series of publications of translations of the German classics of spiritual literature of Abbot Peter (Masarikova) – spiritual works by J. S. Bach, the works of Johann Arndt and Valentin Weigel. Here is the excerpt from the book a Treatise IX. A brief instruction on how to seek God and His face.

The Painter Václav Mánes. Jesus healing the blind (detail)

  • Gregory Pomerantz. Selected quotes
  • Abbot Peter meshaninov: Johann Sebastian Bach – singer of the passion of Christ
  • Vladimir Solovyov. Easter letters
  • The Abbot Peter (Meshaninov). “Spiritual cantatas of Johann Sebastian Bach” (Lecture)

Seek the Lord, seek His face continually.
(1 Par. 16, 11)
Who looked unto Him and were lightened:
and their faces shall never be ashamed
(PS. 33, 6)

I

Gerhard Of Terstegen

1. Oh man (that’s you, reading these lines)! Stop, I renounce at least a little from the revolving of your daily routine and think about your high dignity and the purpose for which you were created and introduced by God into this world. You are not created for time and creations, but for God and eternity and to God and eternity have been devoted to your whole life. You exist in this world and it is only with the intention that you look for your God and saving His face (1 Par. 16, 11), from which you turned away in the fall, and clung to the creatures, so that through these things you might truly be enlightened and sanctified, and to have God, and God in thee, joy and peace, contentment and joy.

2. This one is your eternal salvation and temporal goodness – what you can give nothing, except God. …Your inner man hunger a hunger that nothing will satisfy. Your spiritual eye is not filled with anything; the inner sense does not find anything in the world, only in Sapodilla and infinitely full of love for the Good, which is God alone.

3. <…> God is a spirit (Jn. 4, 24), and closer to your spirit (PS. 33, 19); therefore, you need not look to God, look out for It here and there, or go somewhere, or to dissipate itself in many different and various bodily exercise (1 Tim. 4, 8), and the more so to bother the diverse studies, considerations and conclusions of the fallen mind. This is just the way, further diverting of man from God and deprives it of the ability to know God and His truth.

4. Look only to you to assimilate all his heart to God, and then you’ll be able to find and understand It easily and accurately. As someone who wants to see the sun and bask in it, has to expose himself to the light, and you if you want to truly partake of God should do concerning It as well (1 Jn. 1, 5-7; 2, 6). This unapproachable eternal light cannot be seen, only in His light (PS. 35, 10). <…>

II

5. God is spiritual, detached Entity, alien to the coarseness of this world, of sensuality and rationality. If you want to find God and to behold His face, how it is possible for you, keep your spirit, your love, wishes and heartfelt thoughts are also detached and alien to the world and what in the world (1 Jn. 2, 15). Let your joy no creature comes into you; and he does not come from itself, for love and lust for any creature. <…>

7. God is the comprehensive, indivisible and unrestricted Nature, neurosurgery no mind. It is not this or that, but All and One. Therefore, if you want to know God and to experience Him, we humbly leave all of their special, limited, infant images and thoughts of God (1 Cor. 13, 11), Pliny your mind in obedience to a simple and a child’s faith (2 Cor. 10, 5) and the spirit ascend in a kind of unlimited universality and silent breadth within themselves (PS. 17, 20; 118, 32, 96), not stopping private subjects and thoughts, especially during prayer.

8. God is the very simplicity and purity. It is impossible to see and receive It as soon as the simple and the pure in heart (Matt. 5, 8). Therefore vsyscall you to always be clean and simple. Be true and blameless (job 1, 1) in all his deeds, speeches, thoughts and desires. Give a simple CMOS (MT. 6, 22) your soul right to look at God and in all things to keep in mind only Him alone, without any extraneous impure intentions or strivings of his, without any, even the most subtle, hypocrisy, pretence or artificiality. Let all your thoughts and desires will be such that you could always put them before the bright sunshine of the presence of God. If against your will be stirred in you something false and unclean, sincerely and calmly, without any reserve, poverhni all such before God – and it will disappear.

9. God is merciful and gentle Nature. He is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God in him (1 Jn. 4, 16). Wherefore you be always gentle, loving and merciful, both within themselves and in all their actions. Let the spirit of love of Jesus Christ to soften violent and obstinate temper of your fallen nature, your utility indomitable passions, to bend to obedience to God your nepokorova willfulness. If you feel that you begin to manifest something, the opposite of the mercy of God immediately, not engaging him in an argument, engage in sweet water (PS. 22, 2) meekness and love of Christ.

10. God is quiet and smooth Essence (3 kgs. 19: 12), and It dwells in the silence calm of eternity. And your soul must be such a peaceful and transparent waters, in order to display the glory of God. Therefore, avoid any anxiety, embarrassment and rasporyazheniya inside and sowne. Nothing in the whole world unworthy to him, you ruined yourself. Even your past mistakes and sins, you should be humble, but not to lead to confusion. <…>

11. God is joyful, peaceful and blissful Nature. Therefore, seek and you having to constantly be in peace and joyful spirit. Avoid any devastating care, vexation, murmuring, and sorrow that darkens the soul and make you unfit for fellowship with God. If you notice something like that, softly and humbly walk away from this. May your heart be alien and closed to the world and all living creatures, but is entirely his own and are open to God. Treat yourself to their evil desires, pride and self-will, with severity; in relation to God if childish free, affectionate and trusting. Look at Him as his nearest and best Friend, and don’t expect anything from Him except good. <…>

III

12. If you go with me for this work, as described above, all internal your (PS. 102, 1) will gradually be like God, and you will increasingly open up the ability essential to find these things usemodeline and full of love and Good to see Him saving face.

13. …As external objects and classes (especially while the person is not entrenched and not entrenched in this inner activity) can easily become the cause of much ruin and hinder the soul in its path to God and even to knock her from this path, something absolutely necessary, and extremely important, during the day try to use any moment when all visible and all rational can be put aside in order to gather inside, in the presence of God, and put himself, with the help of grace, in the aforesaid state of the soul permitting the man his measure and external circumstances.

14. …First of all to be believed – and be firm in that conviction – that all depends on the grace of God, not of our will and actions. Therefore, we should not expect that their efforts, and especially samoistselenie deeds or power of the mind, we can find and see God. We must approach God internal, quiet, smooth and peaceful making declination or locations to It of our heart, will and love. <…> As soon as we notice that the Lord visits our soul, desiring to exalt us above the vanity or gather us to himself, to utility or to pacify; as soon as we begin to feel in our heart the children’s reverence for His presence, His all-encompassing goodness or something similar, then we should unabashedly to stop all your doing and fully submit yourself to God in abbotstown and silence, in simplicity and detachment from everything.

IV

15. Then gradually you experienced will understand that you are not only the outer man, consisting of body, senses and mind, which is designed for things and phenomena of this world, but that mostly internal people, having a noble spirit, rooted in eternity, and such inner spiritual forces, which (regardless of what happens in this world) capable of essential to eat and to contemplate God and eternity, and find his true peace and perfect contentment.

16. Then, finally, your love, your heart, your soul an ardent desire, freed and purified from everything else, take the highest Benefit of the immense Deity and adelayda Its vast bosom – and that is the purpose for which you were created and redeemed. <…> As a Seraphim, you be intimate to burn within the pure love of your God and in this the gentle fire of love, he will become truly merciful, meek, quiet, loving of love. <…>

18. Your soul, your constantly looking at God’s inner feeling, detached from any pleasure, delight and consolation from creatures, filled with InterMost the purest joy and the deepest peace of God. You will find all of your joy, contentment and joy in God; and He, for His part, will have you as My joy and gladness (Prov. 8, 31). He will dwell and rest in you (Jn. 14, 23; 2 Cor. 6, 16), on His unshakable throne of the world; and your spirit, like a helpless orphan, so long wandered in exile, sladchayshie will rest in your true place of rest, in his own country, had thrown themselves wholeheartedly into the fold of God, true peace, and to keep himself in the quietest of eternity. <…>

And so codeless you a clear and bright sky of the Holy and blessed Trinity, the Triune God – the sky in which He resides, which birthday fills with His light, love and all the divine perfections, and which is glorified in time and in eternity.

19. Do not be more about people, a glorious creation and the image of the pre-eternal God, which is so unreasonable… to enslave your Royal (if not divine) spirit is weak and poor physical principles and bustle of this world (Gal. 4, 9), yielding to the lusts of the flesh, lust of the eyes and the pride of life (1 Jn. 2, 16)! It is for God sent His Son to redeem you from such bondage (Gal. 4, 4-5) and again to uplift your spirit into the glorious liberty of the children of God (ROM. 8, 21). Remember that your most noble part of you is the child of eternity; God Himself is your Father and your country, where you supposed to dwell and to live. This world should be your link, and your body – correctional house and the dungeon. Ah! lift up your eternal gates of your spiritual forces of fallen nature, sensuality and rationality, Yes enter into them for you King of glory (PS. 23, 7), The Lord Of Hosts! Amen.

1 the ability of the soul to experience joy and peace, otherwise known as conscience, a sense of God to his grace etc.

2 [Translation by the Septuagint]

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