Spiritual Desertion (Voetius)

We are glad to see Voetius’s writings being translated into English for the first time (not sure why it took 300 years, though). In this work Voetius and Hornbeek explore the reasons God appears to sometimes desert His children. The work is easy to read, pastorally sensitive, and filled with martyr stories that will stir your soul.

(P1) Definition: by desertion Voetius simply means when God withdraws (temporarily) all but saving grace from his children.

Voetius examines some of the reasons concerning desertion:
1) those which always accompany desertion: non-acceptance of consolation
2) those causes which usually accompany: diseases, poverty, hardship
3) those which sometimes accompany: demonic affliction. Interestingly, Voetius believes (correctly) that demonic activity, even exorcisms, continue today (Voetius 40). But this doesn’t apply for the deserted believer because, interestingly enough, the symptoms are diffent.

P2: the reality of grace doesn’t depend on our feelings (50).

Hornbeek writes the following treatise in this volume, also titled “Spiritual Desertion.” He doesn’t add much materially to the discussions, though he gives a number of very powerful martyr testimonies. What I learned: the martyr John Holland had an out of body experience, flooded with divine light, right before his death (159), as did Oleavian and Olympia Marote.

Highly recommended.

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About Analytic Anselm

Interests include patristics, the role of the soul in the human person, analytic theology, charismatic gifts
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