Jowett: The apprehending spirit

One of the most precious endowments in the Christian life is an apprehending spirit, a healthy delicacy of soul, which can detect the hidden presence of the Lord. I think it is Bagehot who makes much of Shakespeare’s “experiencing nature,” a rich equipment of responsiveness which enables Shakespeare to enter into the lives of clowns and statesmen, of peasants and courtiers, or merchants and kings. Well, what we need as disciples of Christ is an experiencing nature, exquisite in its apprehension, which can discern the secret place of the Lord. “Thy grace betrayeth thee!” And if we are to have this fine scent for the things of the King’s gardens, we shall have to get rid of all our benumbment. Our spiritual senses may be deadened by sin, they may be blunted by formality. Prayerlessness makes us spiritually dull, while intercession makes us vigilant. Prayer makes us watch. We become alive unto God.

— John Henry Jowett, Friend on the Road and Other Studies in the Gospels, accessed through the Christian Classics Ethereal Library


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