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.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Young Madam Guyon and Her Step-Mother

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

Her statement of some of her trials, I shall endeavor to give in a very abridged form, adjusting anew in some cases the arrangement of the facts where the narrative is confused, and giving the statement with more regard to the precise sentiment or idea, which she obviously means to convey, than to the specific form of expression.

The great fault of my step-mother, who was not without sense and merit, was, that she possessed an ungovernable self-will. This trait was extraordinary in her; it had never been surmounted in her youth, and had become so much a fixed, inflexible trait of her character, that she could scarcely live with anybody. Add to this, that from the beginning she had conceived a strong aversion to me, so much so, that she compelled me to do the most humiliating things. I was made the constant victim of her humors. Her great occupation was to thwart me continually; and she had the. art and the cruelty to inspire my husband with the like unfavorable sentiments.

For instance, in situations where it was proper to have some regard to rank or station in life, they would make persons who were far below me in that respect, take precedence over me,— a thing which was often very trying to my feelings, — and especially so on account of my mother, who was very tenacious of what was due to honorable station in life, and who, when she heard of it from other persons, (for I was careful not to say anything about it myself,) rebuked me for want of spirit in not being able to maintain my rank. Another source of unhappiness was the disposition, on the part of my husband's family, [which resided a short distance out of the city of Paris,] to prevent my visiting my father' s family, [which still continued to reside within the city limits.] My parents, whom I tenderly loved, complained that I came to see them so seldom,— little knowing the obstacles I had to encounter. I never went to see them, without having some bitter speeches to bear at my return. My step-mother, knowing how tenderly I felt on that point, found means to upbraid me in regard to my family, and spoke to me incessantly to the disadvantage of my father and mother.

— from The Life of Madame Guyon Volume 1, Chapter 5.

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