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Centuries ago, Francis de Sales?bishop of Geneva during the lifetime of many first generation Protestant Calvinists?wrote about the importance of having a spiritual director. Yet he later told his biographer such a person ?would be difficult to find,? suggesting that in these circumstances, ?We can look for guidance among the books of authors who are no longer living. Devotional books are our best Directors.?
Today, de Sales serves as such a spiritual director to countless modern day believers, and his Introduction to the Devout Life is recognized as one of the truly great works of devotional literature. Originally written as a series of letters of religious guidance, this enduring book is filled with thoughtful spiritual illustrations and radiates with a warm humanity that touches people of all religious backgrounds.
A classic masterpiece of spiritual writing, de Sales? book is acknowledged to be among the top handful of guides to Christian living. No matter where readers are in their spiritual development?whether they are beginners or skilled theologians?this modern interpretation, an ?honest paraphrase? of de Sales? work, will gently guide them down the clearest path imaginable into a deeper and more authentic religious life.
Bernard Bangley is a recently retired Presbyterian minister who has written for many years. His previous books include Growing in His Image, Spiritual Treasure, Near to the Heart of God, and Talks on the Song of Songs. Educated at Hampden-Sydney College and Union Theological Seminary in Virginia, he has held pastorates from the Appalachian Mountains to Sarasota, Florida. He now lives in Lexington, Virginia.