The life of those who dwell in the secret place of the Most High may be called a Hidden Life, because the animating principle, the vital or operative element, is not so much in itself as in another. It is a life grafted into another life. It is the life of the soul, incorporated into the life of Christ; and in such a way, that, while it has a distinct vitality, it has so very much in the sense, in which the branch of a tree may be said to have a distinct vitality from the root.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

A Marriage Proposal

Reflections on
the Life of
Madame Jeanne de la Mothe Guyon.

It was under these circumstances that her future husband, M. Jaques Guyon, a man of great wealth, sought her in marriage. He was not the only person whose attention, in this new state of things, was directed to her. "Several apparently advantageous offers of marriage," she says, " were made for me; but God, unwilling to have me lost, did not permit them to succeed."

In accordance with the custom of the time and country, (a custom oftentimes but little propitious to those who are most deeply concerned,) the arrangements in this important business were made by her father and her suitor with but little regard to the opinions and feelings of Mademoiselle De La Mothe. She did not see her designated husband, till a few days before her marriage; and when she did see him, she did not find her affections united to him. She gives us distinctly to understand in her Autobiography, that there were other individuals who sought her, with whom she could have more fully sympathized, and could have been more happy. But a regard for the opinions of her father, in whom she had the greatest confidence, (although in this case he seems to have been influenced too much by the circumstance of the great wealth of M. Guyon,) overruled every other consideration. She signed the articles of marriage, but without being permitted to know what they were. She states that the articles were drawn up on the 28th of January, 1664; but it would seem, from a comparison of statements subsequently made, that she was not married till the twenty-first of March of the same year.3 She had then nearly completed her sixteenth year. Her husband was thirty-eight.

Of the family of her husband we know but little. His father, a man of activity and talent, acquired considerable celebrity by completing the canal of Briare, which connects the Loire with the Seine. This great work, (a work the more remarkable for being the first important one of the kind that was undertaken in France,) was commenced in the reign of Henry Fourth, under the auspices of his distinguished minister, the Duke of Sully. After the death of Henry, and the retirement of Sully from the administration of affairs, the work was suspended till 1638, when Louis Thirteenth made arrangements, on liberal terms, with two individuals, Messrs. Jacques Guyon and another individual by the name of Bouteroue, to complete it. In this way Guyon, who was entirely successful in an undertaking beset with difficulties, was not only brought into public notice, but became very wealthy. He was also rewarded with a patent of nobility at the hands of Cardinal Richelieu, the then leading minister. His wealth, as well as an honorable and noble position in society, seems to have been inherited by his only son, the individual to whom Mademoiselle De La Mothe was thus united in marriage.

— from The Life of Madame Guyon Volume 1, Chapter 4.

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