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."
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.
The power and appeal of this book is seen by the fact that it has remained in print from 1941 to the
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,
This will be a book to revisit continually for simple affirmation and encouragement in my life.