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Gerhard Tersteegen

Letter 7, To a Noble Lady

Key Thought: God uses the bitterness of this life to detach us from the things that are seen in this life.

To a Noble Lady.

I can easily imagine, that notwithstanding your ladyship's high rank, sufferings and vexations of various kinds will not be wanting; and I am also in part aware that this is the case; nor must we be surprised that they are painful to flesh and blood, as your ladyship mentions. But we know at the same time, that flesh and blood shall in no wise inherit the kingdom of God, and must be crucified. Your ladyship's mind is certainly too noble to suffer itself, on this account, to be prevented from taking the oath of eternal allegiance to the dear Captain of our salvation, and from persevering, with steadfast sincerity in prayer, in the good fight of faith, and under the banner of the cross of Christ, expecting from him the victory over all the opposing powers of nature. The weaning of a child from its mother's breast, is not so useful to it, as when God our heavenly Father purposes to detach us, by means of the bitterness of this life, from the soul-destroying attachment to the things that are seen. O it is infinite grace, when he breaks our wills and hedges up our way, not in order that we may be constrained to depart from him, but that we may run unto him! Did we but recognize the high intentions of God towards us when he gives us pain, we would kiss the rod of his paternal love, and love him and cleave to him only the more cordially.

I am under great apprehensions, when I behold those who are still in a state of nature, having every thing their own way; who are either unacquainted with disappointments, or always seek to escape from them by pernicious diversions. The more we know Jesus, and the bliss of communion with him by happy experience, the more our eyes are opened to behold every thing else, with new, that is, with supernatural vision. His cross becomes dear and lovely in our esteem and his reproach honorable; whilst the world, on the contrary, and its noblest things, please us no more; for Christ and the world are too much opposed to each other, to dwell together in one and the same heart. He, therefore, is wise and happy both here and hereafter, who esteems all that the world can offer as loss and dung, in order that he may win Christ, the pearl of great price. Amen.—Tersteegen

Gerhard Tersteegen, Life and Character of Gerhard Tersteegen, trans. Samuel Jackson, (London: Black, Young, and Young, 1832), 110-112.


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