Peter Sterry: Conversão

To assist our conversion, we do well to consider these four questions :

(1) What are we? By descending into our own being, and entering into ” the secretest retirement” of our own spirit, we shall discover that we are not our own original, but that there is ” some eternal thing ” above our reach, past our understanding, which fashions us, and carries us on in its own image. Whereupon, Sterry bids us: – Look upward then, and say, O Thou hidden and supreme Substance! which hast cast me as thy shadow upon this earth, comprehend me. O Thou supreme Pattern! which hast sent me forth to pass through this world in Thy Image, guide me.”

(2) Where are we ? We are in a world of images, and our business is to pass through this world as through ” a throng of apparitions,” we ourselves being numbered among the rest. We are urged to ascend with these till they bring us to their first fountain, where we and they together shall drink and be ” wrapt up into an Immortal Fulness.”

(3) Whence came we ? Sterry answers that we came forth into this world from an immutable Substance, from an eternal Original, and we shall never have rest till we return thither again. ” Happy is that soul,” says Sterry, ” that after all her weary steps through the world to seek content, now tired, thinks of returning to her Father, her first Husband, and breathes forth such sighs as these towards Him : O my God! Thy Fulness is the womb out of which I was brought forth into this world; Thy sweetness is the Bosom in which I must eternally rest. How long shall I linger here ? O when shall I once leave this world, and come again to Thee ?”

(4) How came we hither ? We came hither ” through a darkness.” Sterry writes: ” We know not where we were, when God laid the foundations of the earth ; or what we were before that, when all our bones were first written by God in His book; when first those Eternal Forms which were to frame and sustain every shape or state, into which we should pass, were brought forth in the Divine Wisdom.” ” Darkness is the bound between God and the creature, through which all things pass out of one into the other.” Therefore, we are to ” imagine this life as an island, surrounded with a sea of darkness, beyond which lies the main land of Eternity. That man is blessed who can ” raise himself to such a pitch as to look off this island, beyond that darkness, to the utmost bound of things.” “What shall trouble him, on this twig of life, on which he is like a bird but now alighted from a far region from whence again he shall immediately take his flight ? ”

The soul that has well pondered these four questions will recognise that life on earth ” is a mixt state of comforts and crosses,” and that the one thing needful is to experience the New Birth which will open up to the soul vistas of visions and revelations until it come to ” Mount Zion, on which is the great assembly of the First-born.”