As part of my morning devotions, I recently read the short book, “Invitation to Pilgrimage” by John Baillie. John Baillie’s book “A Diary of Private Prayer” is one of my favorite devotional books and I read it frequently. The language in both books is beautiful and they are very thought-provoking.
John Baillie was a Scottish minister and theologian who was most popular around World War II, so his books can be hard to find. The language is a little old-fashioned, but his ideas are not. “Invitation to Pilgrimage” presents a choice to people who say they are Christians: either devote yourself wholly to God or admit that God is not important to you. Obviously, in the book, Baillie invites people to devote themselves fully to God. He presents Christian dogma in a way that is not dogmatic.
Instead of a “normal” book review, I am going to share some of the quotes from the book that I found most profound. Maybe you will find something in these quotes that draws you closer to God.
“When we say we seek God and cannot find him, we are really seeking to evade his all-consuming claim on our lives.”
“Logic is not the description of how men actually think, but of how they know they ought to think and usually do not. Reason may be defined as the ability to recognize truth when it is presented to us, and it is an ability which we show no great sign of possessing or at least of using.”
“We mistake our own bias for absolute truth.”
Baillie says that our primary temptation is that we put ourselves in the place of God when we claim we control our own destiny. He writes, “All the muddle of mismanagement has arisen from my interference with the natural relationship between myself and God. Any effort on my part to set the matter right is bound to fail because it is the efforts I have made that have muddled it up in the first place.”
“Invitation to Pilgrimage” and “A Diary of Private Prayer” are both best when read slowly, with the intention to reflect on the words and ideas. Fortunately Baillie doesn’t try to pack too much in these slender volumes, so reading them in this way is easy to do. If you need a book for devotion I highly recommend “A Diary of Private Prayer.”