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, May 4, 2017

Union with the Divine Will

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

Further reflections on Jean Guyon's conversion experience:

The leading and decisive characteristic of her religious experience... was, as she informs us, the subjection and loss of her own will in its union with the Divine will. It may be expressed in a single term,— union. “As Thou, Father, art in me, and I in Thee, that they also may be ONE in us."

We proceed to give some of her views, and shall introduce others hereafter, as occasion may present itself.
The union between the soul and God may exist in various respects. There may be a union of the human and the divine perceptions. There may be a union of the desires and affections to some extent and in various particulars. But the most perfect union, that  which includes whatever is most important in the others, is the union of the human and the divine will. A union of the affections, independently of that of the will, if we can  suppose such a thing, must necessarily be imperfect. When the will, which sustains a preeminent and controlling relation, is in the state of entire union with God, it necessarily brings the whole soul into subjection; it implies necessarily the extinction of any selfish action, and brings the mind into harmony with itself, and into harmony with everything else. From that moment, our powers cease to act from any private or selfish regards. They are annihilated to self, and act only in reference to God. Nor do they act in reference to God in their own way and from their own impulse; but move as they are moved upon, being gradually detached from every motion of their own.

In such a soul the principle of faith is very strong; so much so as to require nothing of the nature of visions and revelations to sustain it, and to be equally independent of that false support which is derived from human reasonings. That faith which annihilates all our powers, or rather the action of all our powers, in regard to self, making the principle of holy love predominant, and bringing the human will into subjection to the divine, is a light in the soul, which is necessarily inconsistent with, and which extinguishes every other light. That is to say, if we go by any other light, the light of mere human reason, the guidance of inward visions and voices, or of strong emotions, which may be called the lights of sense, or by any other light whatever, distinct and separate from that of faith, of course we do not go by the light of faith. In the presence of the light of faith, every other light necessarily grows dim and passes away; as the light of the moon and stars gradually passes away, and is extinguished in the broader and purer illumination of the rising sun. This light now arose in my heart. Believing with this faith, the fountains of the heart were opened, and I loved God with a strength of love corresponding to the strength of faith. Love existed in the soul; and throwing its influence around every  other  principle of action, constituted, as it were, the soul's dwelling place. God was there. According to the words of  St.  John, ‘He, that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God. God is love.’

— edited from The Life of Madame Guyon Volume 1, Chapter 7. 

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