Introduction to the Devout Life

Introduction to the Devout Life

Introduction to the Devout Life

Introduction to the Devout Life


One of the great religious masterpieces of all time--a spiritual guide for everyone seeking to live a truly Christian life, revised and updated for the modern reader.


For your own satisfaction and for mine, please read this preface.

The flower-girl Glycera was so skilful that by rearranging her flowers she could make so many different bouquets that the painter Pausias, try as he might, could not capture their variety in his pictures.

In the same way, the Holy Spirit arranges the spiritual teaching which he puts before us through the tongues and pens of his servants with equal variety; the doctrines remain ever the same yet the manner in which they are presented differs according to the way they are arranged.

This Introduction contains nothing which has not already been written; the bouquet that I offer you is made up of the same flowers, but I have arranged them differently. Nearly everyone who has written about the spiritual life has had in mind those who live apart from the world, or at least the devotion they advocate would lead to such retirement. My intention is to write for those who have to live in the world and who, according to their state, to all outward appearances have to lead an ordinary life; and who, often enough, will not think of undertaking a devout life, considering it impossible; no one, they believe, ought to aspire to the palm of Christian piety while surrounded by the affairs of the world.

I will show them that a strong and resolute person may live in the world without being tainted by it, find spiritual springs amid its salt waters and fly through the flames of temptation without burning the wings on which they soar to God. True, it is no easy task and must be undertaken with much more zeal than many have so far shown, and I hope . . .

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