A testament of devotion

by Thomas R. Kelly

Other authorsDouglas V. Steere (Biographical Memoir)
Paperback, 1979



Call number

I C KEL 1979


London : Quaker Home Service, [1979, 1941]


Since its first publication in 1941, A Testament of Devotion, by the renowned Quaker teacher Thomas Kelly, has been universally embraced as a truly enduring spiritual classic. Plainspoken and deeply inspirational, it gathers together five compelling essays that urge us to center our lives on God's presence, to find quiet and stillness within modern life, and to discover the deeply satisfying and lasting peace of the inner spiritual journey. As relevant today as it was a half-century ago, A Testament of Devotion is the ideal companion to that highest of all human arts-the lifelong conversation between God and his creatures. I have in mind something deeper than the simplification of our external programs, our absurdly crowded calendars of appointments through which so many pantingly and frantically gasp. These do become simplified in holy obedience, and the poise and peace we have been missing can really be found. But there is a deeper, an internal simplification of the whole of one's personality, stilled, tranquil, in childlike trust listening ever to Eternity's whisper, walking with a smile into the dark."… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member ElizabethAndrew
Friends recommended this book when they heard my 2012 New Year's resolution was to not be overwhelmed by life. A good dose of Quakerism is a nice antidote. I can't say Thomas Kelly led me to calm and simplicity, but he did offer me understanding: "For, except for spells of sickness in the family
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and when the children are small, when terrific pressure comes upon us, we find time for what we really want to do." With a small child, yes, living a focused life of service can be hard.

While his language and theology are old fashioned, Kelly's faith nonetheless inspires me:

I am persuaded that religious people do not with sufficient seriousness count on God as an active factor in the affairs of the world. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock,” but too many well-intentioned people are so preoccupied with the clatter of effort to do something for God that they don’t hear Him asking that He might do something through them.
…For the Eternal is urgently, actively breaking into time, working through those who are willing to be laid hold upon, to surrender self-confidence and self-centered effort, that is, self-originated effort, and let the Eternal be the dynamic guide in recreating, through us, our time-world. 71-74.

I want to pray unceasingly, as Kelly describes. The joy of spiritual community he portrays seems impossible to me, but I want it nonetheless. Most of all, I want to face this complex world with profound trust. I'm grateful for the guides that help me on this journey.
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LibraryThing member vquakerb
One of my all-time favorite devotional/inspirational works.
LibraryThing member PJCWLibrary
This book contains six essays: A Biographical Memoir by Douglas Steele, The Light Within, Holy Obedience, The Blessed Community, The Eternal Now and Social Concern and The Simplification of Life.
The power and appeal of this book is seen by the fact that it has remained in print from 1941 to the
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present (2018).
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LibraryThing member wvlibrarydude
For me this was a book that just could not be read just once.
I just finished reading a testament of devotion. Is it not strange how the different parts of one's life can come together in synchronicity? This book started as both a joy and struggle to read. By the time I finished reading it tonight,
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I was drawn back through a second "skim" reading, where the previous essays became clear as examples of the same theme with particular attention towards different focuses. It is the same thing that has come to me in my scripture readings, in my prayer for walk these last few days and months, in my conversations with others, and even in my Sunday school lesson on the Rich Young ruler from Luke chapter 18 this weekend. Simply put I need to go back to the greatest commandment. Do I love the Lord with all my heart, soul and mind? Am I living my life this way? How do I practice it, so that it becomes second nature? How do I practice so that my will is directed towards god, so that God's Light then enters my central self, that my will is replaced by God's will in my life? I've already started down this path. The joy now is that I find it easier and easier to hunger for God throughout the day. I see the fruit in my life. I see it in the people around me. I also see times when the pain and suffering of this world is there. I experienced the disconnect, the tripping, the blind aley ways I falter down. Yet like Thomas Kelly says, I don't fall into despair, but I pick myself up, and redirect myself towards the Light. Not my will, but His. Love and be loved. Oh how sweet!
This will be a book to revisit continually for simple affirmation and encouragement in my life.
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Call number

I C KEL 1979


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