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.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Her New Determination to Seek God

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

Fully established in her determination to seek God, in all time to come, as her chief good, she adopted those measures which seemed to her to have a connection with that great object. Undoubtedly they had. They show her sense of need and her deep sincerity; but they indicate also how difficult it is for the natural heart, especially under certain systems of religious belief and practice, to detach itself from its own methods and its own supposed merits, and in true simplicity of spirit to follow him who is "the way, the truth, and the life." It is evident, however, although they were in some sense only preparatory, that they had a connection with the great lesson which she was destined ultimately to learn.

Among other things which seemed to be necessary in her present state, she gives us to understand that she ceased to give that attention to her outward appearance which she had done formerly. Fearful that she might either excite or increase emotions of vanity, she diminished very much the time which she had formerly occupied in adjusting and contemplating her person at the mirror.

In addition to this improvement of a personal nature, she commenced doing something for the religious benefit of the servants of the family. She likewise, as a part of her renewed system of effort, began a process of inward examination, often performing it very strictly, writing down her faults from week to week, and comparing the record at different periods, in order to see whether she had corrected them, and to what extent. The sabbath, it is hardly necessary to add, was a day strictly observed, and the place of worship was not only regularly visited, but was attended with some beneficial results.

She made such progress in certain respects, that she began to see and to appreciate, much more correctly than at any former period, the defects of her character and life, and to feel sentiments of sincere compunction. She laid aside all such reading as was incompatible with her present position, and confined her attention chiefly to the most devout works. One of these books, which, notwithstanding its Catholic origin, is much esteemed among Protestants, was the celebrated  Imitiation of Christ, by Thomas á Kempis; a work which is widely circulated and read among devout people of all denominations of Christians. Under a simple and unpretending exterior, corresponding in this respect, as we may well suppose, with the humble spirit of its author, whoever he may have been, it contains the highest principles of Christian experience. Some of the works of Francis de Sales also, which she mentions as having read at an early period of her life, were consulted by her at this time with great interest.

— edited from The Life of Madam Guyon Volume 1, Chapter 6.

No comments:

Post a Comment