Reflections on Madame Guyon's conversion.
Madame Guyon dates this great change as taking place on Magdalen's day, as it is termed in the Catholic church, the 22d of July; 1668.1 She was then a little more than twenty years of age.
It is hardly necessary to say, that the change which persons experience in their transition from the life of nature to the life of God in the soul, are very different, in their commencement, in different persons, being much more marked in some cases than in others. In the case of Madame Guyon, although slowly progressive in its preparatory steps, it seems to have been very decisive and marked at the time of its actually taking place. It was obviously a great crisis in her moral and religious being, — one in which the pride and obstinacy of the natural heart were broken down, and in which, for the first time, she became truly willing to receive Christ alone as her hope of salvation.
A gospel change implies the existence of a new nature. A nature which has life in it; and which, having the principle of life in itself, puts forth the acts of life. And it is thus that the fact, both of its existence and of its character, is verified. The true life always shows itself outwardly, in its appropriate time and way. “By their fruits,” says the Savior, “ye shall know them.” No other evidence will compensate, or ought to compensate for the absence of this. This evidence Madame Guyon gave. From the moment that she gave herself to the Lord to be his, in the inner spirit as well as the outward action, and in the action corresponding to the spirit, the language of her heart, like that of the Apostle Paul was, "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? ”
“I bade farewell forever" she says “to assemblies which I had visited, to plays and diversions, to dancing, to unprofitable walks, and to parties of pleasure. The amusements and pleasures which are so much prized and esteemed by the world, now appeared to me dull and insipid,— so much so, that I wondered how I ever could have enjoyed them." She adds the remark, that for two years previously she had left off the curling of her hair,— a very general and favorite practice at that time, and which, — if we may believe the Maquis De Dangeau, although his statements strictly apply to a somewhat later period,— was sometimes carried to an injurious and unseemly extent. And in connection with doing this she expresses an opinion,— which others, who wish to honor the Savior in a Christian life, might do well to remember, — that she abandoned a practice, which, in the judgment of a correct taste, does not in reality contribute to the attractions of personal appearance; and the abandonment of which, therefore, if rightly considered, cannot be supposed to involve any great personal sacrifice.
Without going into particulars, it may perhaps be sufficient to say, that from this time it became her object, in her dress, in her modes of living, and in her personal habits generally, as well as in her interior dispositions, to conform to the requisitions of the Inward Monitor, the Comforter and Guide of holy souls, who now began to speak in her heart.
— edited from The Life of Madame Guyon (1877) Volume 1, Chapter 8.