THE object of this little book is to present some of the less obvious and less understood results of communion with God.
The fruits of the Spirit-love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness - are often, and rightly, dwelt upon as the supremely blessed outcome of the Spirit- filled life ; and yet there are other, and no less real, benefits which communion with God confers, which should not be left out of the account.
To be sure, if we seek God's presence for the sake of the health, friends, and prosperity which it will bring, the blessings will elude our selfish grasp, and the precious secret will never be ours. No sort of simony is tolerated by God. But if we truly seek God for himself, with himself he freely gives us all things. If we seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, all these things shall be added.
I have made frequent use of this phrase, " practising the presence of God," so loved of Jeremy Taylor, Brother Lawrence, and other devout men, because the use of this somewhat unusual synonym for communion with God, and similar phrases, may lead some of my readers to inquire more deeply into its meaning, and to find out for themselves its blessed significance.
These chapters have been written during a long and otherwise tedious and unpleasant voyage of twenty-three days in tropical seas, on a Hindoo coolie ship, from India to South Africa, during which (for the voyage has been in some sense my Arabia) I trust I have learned something (more, at least, little as it is, than I ever knew before) of the blessed life I have tried to open to others.
Young people, especially, long with an intense longing to know the secret of true success in life ; I have put into their hands the key. May God, who alone can do it, help them to unlock the wondrous secret.
Indian Ocean, March, I897.