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, April 5, 2017

When Thy Pure Fires Prevail

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

Such are the expressions, in which she speaks of the remarkable change which thus passed upon her spirit, — an event in her life which opened new views, originated new feelings, instituted new relations, and gave new strength. Too important in itself and its relations to be forgotten under any circumstances, we find her often recurring to it with those confiding, affectionate and grateful sentiments, which it was naturally calculated to inspire.

One of her religious poems, which Cowper has translated, expresses well the feelings which we may suppose to have existed in her at this time.

"All are indebted much to Thee,
But I far more than all;
From many a deadly snare set free,
And raised from many a fall.
Overwhelm me, from above,
Daily with thy boundless love.

What bonds of gratitude I feel,
No language can declare;
Beneath the oppressive weight I reel,
'Tis more than I can bear;
When shall I that blessing prove,
To return Thee love for love?

Spirit of Charity! Dispense
Thy grace to every heart;
Expel all other spirits thence
Drive self from every part.
Charity divine! Draw nigh;
Break the chains in which we lie.

All selfish souls, whate'er they feign,
Have still a slavish lot;
They boast of liberty in vain,
Of love, and feel it not.
He, whose bosom glows with thee,
He, and he alone, is free.

Oh blessedness, all bliss above,
When thy pure fires prevail!
LOVE only teaches what is love;
All other lessons fail;
We learn its name, but not its powers,
Experience only makes it ours.

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

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