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The Life of God in the Soul of Man

4.29  ·  Rating details ·  661 ratings  ·  67 reviews
With The Methods Of Attaining The Happiness Which It Proposes. Also An Account Of The Beginnings And Advances Of A Spiritual Life.
Kindle Edition, 42 pages
Published (first published 1739)
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David Steele
Sep 21, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology
"The worth and excellency of a soul is to be measured by the object of its love." One sentence made the book worthwhile!
Douglas Wilson
Oct 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very good book over all, and one with some magnificent passages.
I’m not a religious person, at all. This isn’t to say that I don’t have some sort of faith, but organized religion truly does not sit with me. I do, however, appreciate excellent writing, scholarship, and artistry that is either for/inspired by/or patronized by churches throughout time. We would have no Parthenon if not for Greek Gods, and no Cathedrals if not for Catholics.
I read this book because I was the proof-listener for the soloist on Librivox, and while I don’t hold with Scougal’s per
Sharon Cate
Feb 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is only 84 pages long, but is very profound. In an age in which everyone brags about not being religious, this book clearly explains what religion is, and what is more, it inspires me to strive for true religion, divine life. While this book is short, it is dense. It was written in the late 1600s and reading it reminds me of how spiritually and intellectually shallow we are today. Set aside some time to read this little gem. You will be blessed and inspired.
Feb 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Someone once said that books don't change lives, but sentences do. And there are a few of those sentences within The Life of God in the Soul of Man by Henry Scougal. It is a collection of three letters written to a friend to encourage him in his growth in godliness, and to instruct him on the Christian life. Though it was never meant to be published, it was published 60 years after Scougal's death and the world is a better place for it. Many of the Great Awakening leaders were influenced powerfu ...more
Jul 25, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2012, summer-12, god
1/5, here are my reasons:

The book was written in the 1600s, in English, so archaic diction and grammar should not surprise anyone. That it's even readable to me I consider a cultural miracle in the preservation of meaning in language, but that does not mean it's enjoyable to read. Many sentences linger on into the abyss, like the title of some Jonathan Edwards treatise fed too much fertilizer. If you don't mind thinking outside of modern English then language will not be a problem for yo
Sep 08, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some of the greatest literary works in the history of the church have been from unexpectated places: Jonathan Edwards' Resolutions & Advice For Young Converts were birthed out of private devotion and pastoral practice, Samuel Rutherford's letters are a peek into the pastoral vision of one of the creators of the Westminster Confession, and David Brainerd's personal diary has affected generations of missionaries for the last few hundred years. The reason for this is simple: the Christian life ...more
Jul 01, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Henry Scougal wrote this book in the 1600s. Reviewers for it on Amazon are effusive in praise of its content. The quote on the cover by George Whitefield says, "I never knew what true religion was till God sent me this excellent treatise." I can see why it was so influential, especially in its time. Scougal lays out the essential principals of Christian discipleship in simple and short form. One can especially see how this book may have been helpful to people living in an explicitly Christian so ...more
Aaron Pratt
Jul 04, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fairly short and full of timeless beauty and wisdom. The premise of the book is defining the nature if a true believer, what true religion is. His definition is: true religion is a union of the soul with God, a real participation of the divine nature, the very image of God drawn upon the soul, or, in the apostle's phrase, "It is Christ formed within us."—Briefly, it is a Divine life. It is something we are. We are given this nature being justified and we grow in it through being sanctified. He g ...more
Aug 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The first section of this little treatise is so excellent it would alone merit a 5 star rating for the whole work. Scougal died very young and this is the only piece of writing we have from him. But what he may lack in volume he more than makes up in quality and distilled potency. I have seldom found an author who so clearly and precisely drew distinctions between dead religiosity and Spirit-wrought new life. If you have any question about the inward and outward dynamics of real Christianity in ...more
Megan Lane
Sep 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So, the thing about this edition of the book is that there are a lot of things in it that are not the actual book. So, the rating is for the book itself, not all the extra stuff. I liked Henry Scougal's book... and J.I. Packer's introduction.
Actually, the only thing I didn't like was the random, unnecessary Rules and Instructions for a Holy Life by Robert Leighton. It was rambling and repetitive and poorly explained and entirely devoid of Scripture. I didn't disagree with all of it, but I didn't
Chris Curry
Aug 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very interesting book (or letter, rather)! It was a favorite in old Oxford's "Holy Club" of which the Wesley brothers and George Whitefield were members. Whitefield claimed this letter was "the" extra-biblical mean God used to show him what "true religion" looked like. But as I read though the pages of this letter, I honestly didn't see much of a reflection of Whitefield's theology, but rather a reflection of John Wesley's. Though, not the easiest read, it is something I think all Christians s ...more
Aug 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology
Five stars for content; three stars for editing in this edition. That aside, Scougal's classic of Puritan spirituality is both deep and practical. There is much Christian thought to ponder here but plenty of sown-to-earth application. Scougal often gets caught up in ecstatic revert--a common Puritan practice that, at least for me, makes a deeper walk with Christ seem more unattainable. But Scougal also admits his deep faults and temptations that are common to us all. At its best, this book spurs ...more
Secret Agent Gavin Ritsema
This book focuses on the change in a Christian from following their own will to following God's will. Scougal shows how love for God grows exponentially and completely changes a believer to becoming like Him. The best part of this book is how Jesus-focused it is.
Emily Webb
Apr 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Encouraging book with beautiful prose, but definitely not an “easy read”. Requires some intentional focus and concentration to truly appreciate! (So maybe don’t try to read it while your kids are climbing on you 😆)
Joshua Horn
Although it's not the easiest read out there, I found that these book contained some real jems.
Susanna Grant
good but kinda slow and a little too introspective for me, not as good as I was expecting
Alan Alexandrino
Que livro precioso! Mais impressionante ainda é saber que o autor o escreveu com a tenra idade de 26 anos.
Tom James
Aug 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was originally written as a long letter to a friend and was published shortly before the author's death in 1678. Deals with one's salvation and relationship with God. Highly recommended.
Daniel Nelms
John Piper led me to this book. It is a short and deep read... will be revisiting again and again.
Daniel Souza
Feb 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
A short, pastoral gem.
Jun 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Classic for a reason

This is a beautiful and simple work. It has been encouraging saints for centuries. I recommend it to anyone who would desire an excellent soul!
Darren Jansen
Apr 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the best devotional / theological books I have had the pleasure of reading. This is probably fourth or fifth time I have read it.

In it Scougal defines religion as the life of God in the soul of man and then details how to experience that blessed state in one's own life.

The first time I read this book there were a few revolutionary concepts in the book that lifted me out of the stream of thought of the theological world I found myself in in my earlier years. One was the idea that
Apr 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
Scougal was a Scottish theologian who lived in the 1600s. This “book” is really a long letter written by Scougal to a friend who was struggling in his faith. The title is the book’s definition of what true Christian faith is: a filling of our souls by God. Scougal starts with the premise that if we love God, we will allow His Spirit to transform our beings. He then goes into detail in describing how such a transformation results in four things: love for God as reflected in our obedience to Him a ...more
Alia Makki
Sep 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I could almost see this book as a constant reference in the future for my soul's travels.

There are times when the author sounds too Christian that I get lost in the dogmatic ideas. Though for most of the book I found relief and catharsis his passionate voice; the reminders that goodness begets more good, albeit lonely and off-stream and unwelcome it may seem at first glance.

If any earthly comforts have got too much of your heart, I think they have been your relations and friends; and the deare
Mike E.
I read this book while at a pastor's conference in Feb. 2009. You can find it through Google Books or Google Scholar. The version I read was published in Boston, 1868. Here are a few quotes:

The worth and excellency of a soul is to be measured by the object of its love. (p. 40)

If we do not say that we love Him above all things, let us at least acknowledge that it is our duty, and would be our happiness so to do.

Let us never look upon any sin as light and inconsiderable; but be fully persuaded tha
Chris Comis
Read this about fourteen years ago, and just read it again. Some really good insights into the inner-life of the Christian life. Very humbling and convicting at times. But Scougal also comes across as too focused on the inner workings of the human soul -- too introspectionistic, in my opinion.

I also think he borders on misplacing the antithesis. He tends to see the antithesis as that which exists between spiritual things and physical things; rather than the more biblical view, which pits Holy S
Samuel Bierig
Feb 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book. Probably, next to "Mortification of Sin" by Owen, this is the best Puritan volume I've read.
Nov 18, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2012-books
Most of the reviews for this were quite good while my review is not. The concept of the book was very appealing to me; however, the time period in which the book was written encouraged extremely long and involved sentences. Following the meaning of Scougal's sentences involved something akin to grammatical diagramming - I found myself not caring enough to put forth that effort.

I read the book on the iPad so was able to look up words that were new to me (and there were a lot of them) - in the las
Jan 20, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Because of the wisdom contained in Scougal’s letter and its influence on great men such as George Whitefield, I’m inclined to give four stars. I particularly appreciated Scougal’s vigorous appeal to mortify the flesh, as we rarely hear such advice given so heartily today. Yet, as J. I. Packer points out in the introduction, this advice could be mistaken for “fake it til you make it" (p. 13). Scougal does caution that we must first “own our allegiance to that infinite Majesty” and aim towards hav ...more
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Henry Scougalwas a Scottish Anglican theologian, minister and author.

Scougal produced a number of works while a pastor and professor of divinity at King's. His most recognized work, The Life Of God In The Soul Of Man, was originally written to a friend to explain Christianity and give spiritual counsel. This work was almost universally praised by the leaders of the Great Awakening, including Georg
“The worth and excellency of a soul is to be measured by the object of its love.” 17 likes
“The god of love had shot all his arrows, but could never pierce his heart, till at length he put himself into the bow.” 5 likes
More quotes…