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.

Saturday, March 2, 2024

The Divine Life

Oh, sacred union with the Perfect Mind!
Transcendent bliss, which Thou alone canst give!
How blest are they, this pearl of price who find,
And dead to earth have learnt in Thee to live.

Thus, in thine arms of love, Oh God, I lie,
Lost, and forever lost, to all but Thee.
My happy soul, since it hath learnt to die,
Hath found new life in thine Infinity.

Oh, go and learn this lesson of the Cross;
And tread the way which saints and prophets trod,
Who, counting life, and self, and all things loss,
Have found in inward death the life of God.

Religious Maxims (1846).

Remarks on Holy Living

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

Inquiries on holy living

There is but one way for the Christian to walk in. It is not possible that there should be any other. "A strait and narrow way" it is true; but still, properly speaking, not a difficult way. Undoubtedly it is difficult to a heart naturally averse to it, to enter into it, and to become entirely naturalized to it. Sometimes the difficulty is very great; but when once the process is fairly begun, and the influence of old habits is broken, the difficulty is, in a great degree, removed; and it becomes true, as the Saviour has said, that His "yoke is easy, and His burden is light." 

Friday, March 1, 2024

A Visit to St. Cloud

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

Visit to St. Cloud — Sorrow

If, under the impulse of an unsanctified curiosity, she gave an unguarded look, — if in a moment of temptation she uttered a hasty reply to the rebukes and accusations of others, (moral delinquencies which some might not regard as very great,) — she found that it cost her bitter tears. Even when she dispensed her munificent charity; which brought consolation to the poor and suffering, she sometimes found, with sorrow of heart, that the donation which ought to have been made with "a single  eye," was corrupted by a glance at the rewards of self-complacency and of worldly applause.

Thursday, February 29, 2024

A Journey to Orleans and Touraine

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

Journey to Orleans and Touraine — Temptations and religious infidelities and falls repeated

Her husband, with the keen eye of one, who did not consider the value of her natural character as enhanced at all by her religious traits, saw her position [of spiritual conflict], and we may well suppose secretly rejoiced at it. It was no disquiet to him, looking at the matter in the worldly light, that she had made her appearance in the fashionable companies of the most gay and fashionable city in the world. And still he could not but see that the snare, which was thus laid for the faith and piety of his wife, in the attractions and assemblies of Paris, had in some degree failed. He was not ignorant that she had both seen her danger, and had exhibited the wisdom and the decision to flee from it. But certainly, if her religious principle was thus severely tested at Paris, there could be no hazard to it, in her making an excursion into the country, among mountains and rivers, and others of  God's great works. This, obviously, was a very natural suggestion. It was proposed, therefore, that she should take a distant journey. Her husband could go with her, and was ready to do it. His state of health was such, that it could hardly fail to be beneficial And if her own health should not be improved, as it would be very likely to be, it would certainly contribute to her happiness. And it was an incidental consideration which had its weight, that her parents came from Montargis, the place of her early life and recollections, which could be visited in the way. Orleans, too, which it was contemplated to visit in the tour was a celebrated and beautiful city. Nor was it a small thing to an imaginative mind like hers, to tread the banks and to behold the scenery of the magnificent Loire. With that great river there were some interesting recollections connected. Not many years before, its waters had been wedded to those of the Seine by the Canal of Briare — an astonishing work, a monument of the enterprise of her husband’s father, and the principal source of the wealth of her family. Hence arose the journey to the distant province of Touraine, in the spring or summer of 1670.

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

A Visit to Paris

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

Visit to Paris — The errors committed there — Grief

Man, under the influence of the natural life, is disposed to diffuse himself — to overleap the humbling barriers of God's providence, and to mingle in what is not his own. The principle of curiosity, always strong, but especially so in a mind like hers, was not only not dead, but what is still more important, it ceased to be properly regulated. It was still a matter of interest with her to see and be seen, and to experience the pleasures of worldly intercourse and conversation.

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

On Austerities

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

The inordinate action of all parts of the mind to be subdued — Austerities may be practiced without the idea of expiation — The monks of La Trappe — Temptations to go back to the world

I doubt not that the distinction which separates the idea of expiation from austere and self-mortifying acts, and makes them merely disciplinary, would be found to hold good in many instances; but, without pretending to say how far this may be the case, I will relate here a single incident which will illustrate what I mean. 

Monday, February 26, 2024

Wholly Devoted to God: Mortifications

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

We are to consult our own improvement and good, as well as of others — Desires to be wholly the Lord’s — Efforts to keep the outward appetites in subjection

“Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” Our own vineyard is not to be neglected. True Christianity verifies its existence and its character, not merely in doing good to others, but partly, at least, in the regulation of our own inward nature. It is not enough to visit the sick and teach the ignorant, to feed the hungry and clothe the naked, while we leave our own appetites and passions unsubdued, unregulated.

Friday, February 23, 2024

Rest From Condemnation

"Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
" — John 14:27 (KJV)

In analyzing and explaining the elements of that pure and heavenly peace, which our Savior has left both as the inheritance and the characteristic of truly holy souls, we proceed to remark, further, that they are at rest from the reproofs of conscience.

This is a state of things very different from that which is experienced by souls that are only partially united with God. The latter, as they are going through the transition state from love commencing to love completed, have a constant conflict in themselves. Their inward good and evil are arrayed in opposition to each other. They see the right; but they continue, in some degree at least, to follow the wrong. And just so far as this is the case, they are under condemnation. And under such circumstances, they cannot fail to be uneasy and unhappy.

Sunday, February 4, 2024

Liberty of Spirit

That devout condition of mind, which is expressed by the term holiness, requires, that we should do the will of God in all things; or what amounts to the same thing, that we should do right in all things. But it is obvious, that partialities, inordinate attachments, loving one more than another without any reasonable grounds for making a distinction, perplex both our perceptions of right and our ability to do what is right. It is important, therefore, to keep our minds in that desirable state, so often mentioned by spiritual writers, which is denominated liberty of spirit; a state of mind, in which there are no disturbing influences, originating either from inordinate hatred or inordinate love, and in which the soul, acting under a divine guidance, may be moved with the greatest possible ease in any direction.

 When, in the exercise of our naturally kind feelings, we strive to do good to our fellow-men, by soothing their sorrows, by healing their dissentions, or in any other way, if we do it without a humble and serious eye to God’s providences, we shall always find on a careful examination, that we do it in a considerable degree, if not entirely, without a believing regard to God himself. And accordingly, in attempting to do good in this way, viz., from the mere impulse of nature, without a regard to God and his providences, it will not be surprising, if, in many cases, we fail of our object, and do evil rather than good. God is present in time, as well as in events. There is always the right time, as well as the right thing; the right time, as well as the right action. The man of true faith feels it to be necessary to act at the right time, to act in God’s time, even in doing those things, which are clearly of a benevolent nature. God holds the remedy of the evils, which exist in the world, in his own hands. His people are the instruments, which he employs, in applying this remedy. But the application is never made beneficially either to the subject or the agent, except when it is made under his own superintendence, in his own time and manner.

— from The Life of Faith, Part 2, Chapter 7.

Saturday, February 3, 2024

Avoid Inordinate Partialities

We may love wrongly also, when we knowingly place our love upon wrong objects; or perhaps we should rather say in this case, upon wrong persons. And accordingly it is a part of Christian duty to avoid wrongly placed and inordinate partialities; those particular attachments to certain persons, which generally exist without adequate reason, and which are apt to be attended with corresponding dislikes to other persons. We do not mean to say, that we are bound to bestow an equal confidence and an equal affection upon all persons alike; but true Christianity requires, that, where we make a difference, we should do it for reasons and on grounds, which God can approve. It ought to be more generally remembered than it is, that we have no more right to place our affections on objects or persons, irrespective of God’s will, than we have to regulate and control our outward actions in disregard of his will. And it is implied in regarding his will in this case as well as in others, that we must have a heart humbly acquiescent in his providences, and must look to him in the exercise of faith, in order that we may be guided right. It is proper, therefore, to say to all, who desire to do what God would have them do, choose your friends in the Lord. Or rather look to the Lord, to choose them for you. And then you will be likely, not only to choose them right, but to keep them long. And what otherwise would fail to be the case, it will be a friendship hallowed by the divine blessing.

— from The Life of Faith, Part 2, Chapter 7.