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.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

A Christian Example

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

God, who adjusts the means to the end to be accomplished, and who is not easily wearied out in His benevolence, was pleased to add other instrumentalities.

During her visit to the city of Paris, which has just now been referred to, and at other times, she had opportunities, more or less frequently, of being at her father's house. After the death of her mother, her respect and affection for her father seemed especially to require it; She there became acquainted with a lady, whom she speaks of as being an Exile, very possibly some one of those persons, who with the Queen of England and others, had been driven away from England by the civil wars in that country, which resulted in the dethronement and death of Charles First. She intimates that this exiled lady, whose name is not given, came to her father's house in a state of destitution; and says expressly, that he offered her an apartment in it, which she accepted and staid there for a long time. This destitute woman, instructed in the vanities of the world by the trials she had experienced, had sought and had found the consolations of religion. She was one of those, that, in loving God, "worship him in spirit and in truth." Her gratitude to M. De La Mothe, who had received and sheltered her in her misfortunes, was naturally shown in acts of kindness to his daughter, Madame Guyon. And it is but reasonable to suppose that these favorable dispositions were increased by what she observed of her talents, her beauty; and her sorrows; and still more by what she noticed of her sincere and earnest desire to know more, and experience more, of the things of religion.

Madame Guyon eagerly embraced the opportunity which was thus afforded her of religious conversation; and from this pious friend who was thus raised up by Providence to instruct her, she seems to have received the first distinct intimations, that she was erroneously seeking religion by a system of works without faith. Among other things, this devout lady remarked to her, in connection with what she had observed of her various exterior works of charity, that she had the virtues of  "an active life," that is to say, the virtues of outward activity, of outward doing, but that she had not the "truth and simplicity of the life within." In other words, that her trust was in herself rather than in God, although she might not be fully aware of it. But Madame Guyon, in referring to this period afterwards, says significantly,

My time had not yet come; I did not understand her. Living in my presence in the Christian spirit she served me more by her example than by her words. God was in her life. I could not help observing on her  countenance, reflecting as it did the inward spirit, something which indicated a great enjoyment of God's presence. I thought it an object to try to be like her outwardly, — to exhibit that exterior aspect of divine resignation and peace, which is characteristic of true inward piety. I made much effort, but it was all to little purpose. I wanted to obtain, by efforts made in my own strength, that which could be obtained only by ceasing from all such efforts, and trusting wholly in God.
— edited from The Life of Madam Guyon Volume 1, Chapter 6.

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