I have left it in its natural simplicity. I do not condemn the opinions of any: on the contrary, I esteem those which are held by others, and submit all that I have written to the censure of persons of experience and learning. I only ask of all that they will not be content with examining the outside, but that they will penetrate the design of the writer, which is only to lead others to LOVE GOD, and to serve Him with greater happiness and success, by enabling them to do it in a simple and easy way, fit for the little ones who are not capable of extraordinary things, but who truly desire to give themselves to God.
I ask all who may read it, to read without prejudice; and they will discover, under common expressions, a hidden unction, which will lead them to seek for a happiness which all ought to expect to possess.
I use the word facility, saying that perfection is easy, because it is easy to find God, when we seek Him within ourselves. The passage may be quoted which says, "Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me" (John vii.34). Yet this need not occasion any difficulty; because the same God, who cannot contradict Himself, has said, "He that seeketh findeth" (Matt. vii.8). He who seeks God, and who yet is unwilling to forsake sin, will not find Him, because he is seeking Him where He cannot be found; therefore it is added, "Ye shall die in your sins." But he who sincerely desires to forsake sin, that he may draw near to God, will find Him infallibly.
Many people imagine religion so frightful, and prayer so extraordinary, that they are not willing to strive after them, never expecting to attain to them. But as the difficulty which we see in a thing causes us to despair of succeeding in it, and at the same time removes the desire to undertake it; and as, when a thing appears both desirable and easy to be attained, we give ourselves to it with pleasure, and pursue it boldly; I have been constrained to set forth the advantage and the facility of this way.
Oh! if we were persuaded of the goodness of God toward His poor creatures, and of the desire which He has to communicate Himself to them, we should not imagine so many obstacles, and despair so easily of obtaining a good which He is so infinitely desirous of imparting to us.
And if He has not spared His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, is there anything He can refuse us? Assuredly not. We only need a little courage and perseverance. We have so much of both for trifling temporal interests, and we have none for the "one thing needful."
As for those who find a difficulty in believing that it is easy to find God in this way, let them not believe all that they are told, but rather let them make trial of it, that they may judge for themselves; and they will find that I say very little in comparison with that which is.
Dear reader, study this little work with a simple and sincere heart, with lowliness of mind, without wishing to criticise it, and you will find it of good to you. Receive it with the same spirit as that in which it is given, which is no other than the longing that you may be led to give yourself unreservedly to God. My desire is that it may be the means of leading the simple ones and the children to their Father, who loves their humble confidence, and to whom distrust is so displeasing. Seek nothing but the love of God; have a sincere desire for your salvation, and you will assuredly find it, following this little unmethodical method.
I do not pretend to elevate my sentiments above those of others, but I relate simply what has been my own experience as well as that of others, and the advantage which I have found in this simple and natural manner of going to God.
If this book treats of nothing else but the short and easy method of prayer, it is because, being written only for that, it cannot speak of other things. It is certain that, if it be read in the spirit in which it has been written, there will be found nothing in it to shock the mind. Those who will make the experience of it will be the most certain of the truth which it contains.
It is to Thee, O Holy Child Jesus, who lovest simplicity and innocence, and who findest Thy delight in the children of men, that is to say, with those amongst men who are willing to become children; -- it is to Thee, I say, to give worth and value to this little work, impressing it on the heart, and leading those who read it to seek Thee within themselves, where Thou wilt take Thy rest, receiving the tokens of their love, and giving them proofs of Thine.
It is Thy work, O Divine Child! O uncreated Love! O silent Word! to make Thyself beloved, tasted, and heard. Thou art able to do it; and I even dare to say that Thou wilt do it, by means of this little work, which is all to Thee, all of Thee, and all for Thee.