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The Life of God in the Soul of Man

4.34  ·  Rating details ·  820 ratings  ·  87 reviews
It has been said that this book by Henry Scougal was "almost universally praised by leaders of the Great Awakening". It is a piece of literature that has been used by God to influence the souls of men for the glory of Christ.

Regardless of the times we live in, the great works of the men of God of old are still applicable today. In an age of lukewarm believers, we need the
Kindle Edition, 42 pages
Published (first published 1739)
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Rowan Wiese
May 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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! I bought this book at discounted price from here: ...more
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.
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.
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
Chris Butler
Mar 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Were it possible to rate this book higher than 5 I would have eagerly done so. It is hard to understand why this incredible primer on ‘real religion’ as Scougal calls it, is not much more broadly known in the church and quoted as frequently as the other divines, reformers and puritans.
George Whitfield, the ‘the Great Awakener’ had the Life of God in the Soul of Man put into his hands by Charles Wesley. This book became Whitfield’s most treasured reading aside from holy scripture itself.
Feb 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was no where close to thinking or writing like this letter when I was 27. If I were to receive this letter from a friend, I would do everything I could to strengthen our friendship over time. Reading this letter requires focus and reflection, so at times I found myself rereading paragraphs again and again. I was moved several times by his passion and love for God and his love for his friend. 4 stars since it was a bit difficult to get through, but that just shows my ignorance.
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
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
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 is n ...more
John Yelverton
The author writes a series of dialogues and combines them into this work. They are rather disjointed and use a manner of language which is difficult to understand.
Daniel Lehn
Jul 25, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2012, 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
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
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
Daniel Nelms
John Piper led me to this book. It is a short and deep read... will be revisiting again and again.
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!
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.
Mark Evans
Feb 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was an incredible letter from one friend to another on how to grow in the love of God - and thereby to grow as a partake of Grace, as we experience, in Divine Love, the life of God in the soul of man.

“In fine, A lover is miserable, if the person whom be loveth be so. They who have made an exchange of hearts by love, get thereby an interest in one another’s happiness and misery; and this makes love a troublesome passion, when placed on earth. The most fortunate person hath grief enough to m
Apr 07, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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Truthfully, don’t let my three stars fool you. I really love this book and it has very high value in my heart and mind. I’m sure most who read it will come to know that the author and this particular book had great spiritual influence on George Whitefield, the well-known early American colonial evangelist. That reason alone will make one want to read it, or at least investigate. For me, I just didn’t connect with Scougal as I have with other authors of the Christian classics. But that doesn’t me ...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
Alyssa Bohon
Sep 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of those little books worth rereading every year. Pure gold. My edition (published by Sprinkle Publications) has an appended Rules and Directions for A Holy Life by Archbishop Leighton that is also pure gold. Life changing lines that say in two sentences as much as is said in a whole book by modern Christian authors.

"Let us represent him into our minds as we find him described in the Gospel; and there we shall behold the perfections of the Divine nature, though covered with the veil of human
Tim Michiemo
4.8 Stars

Pure gold! Scougal uses elegant language to remind his readers (originally a letter to an individual) of the nature of true religion. True religion is when the life of God resides in the soul of man, when God is seen as the man's highest joy and pleasure. And this shows itself in renewed affections and actions - works that are spurred on by the perfect character and works of Jesus. This is perfect short letter to serve as a reminder to any Christian of the great nature of the Christian
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
Jenny Sanders
I wanted to read this in its entirety having used a quote from it in my own book (publishing next month - thank you Instant Apostle). I really wanted to get a better grasp of Mr Scougal's thesis and of course, it's long been considered a classic. Certainly not an easy read simply because the seventeenth century language is somewhat convoluted, but not a long book either and there's some real gems in there from this Scottish theologian, who died at the premature age of 28.
Matthew Prydden
Scougal's classic work really poked and prodded at the poorness of my own spirituality by exposing it to the heights of what it could be. Like so many others, ranging from Whitefield and the Wesley brothers to John Piper, this little book worked to greatly increase my desire for the Lord and for a greater and more intimate communion with Him.
Ian Hall
Jan 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Would that we had a friend or were a friend, like Henry Scougal, with a love for God and his brother [and sister] in Christ Jesus. This treatise, originally a letter to a dear friend, in humility shared with others (us) in book form is heavenly food for the soul. Its impact over centuries is well documented and this past year most necessary instruction and edification for this needy child.
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 😆)
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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

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“The worth and excellency of a soul is to be measured by the object of its love.” 23 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
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