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.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Madam Guyon: The Trial of Christian Faith

'Twas my purpose, on a day,
To embark and sail away:
As I climbed the vessel's side,
Love was sporting in the tide.
"Come," he said,— "ascend — make haste,
Launch into the boundless waste."

Many mariners were there,
Having each his separate care;
They, that rowed us, held their eyes
Fixed upon the starry skies;
Others steer'd, or turn'd the sails
To receive the shifting gales.

Love, with power divine supplied,
Suddenly my courage tried;
In a moment it was night;
Ship and skies were out of sight;
On the briny wave I lay,
Floating rushes 'all my stay.

Did I with resentment burn
At  this unexpected turn?
Did I wish myself on shore,
Never to forsake it more?
No — "My soul" — I cried, "be still;
If I must be lost, I will."

Next he hasten'd to convey
Both my frail supports away;
Seized my rushes; bade the waves
Yawn into a thousand graves;
Down I went and sunk as lead,
Ocean closing o'er my head.

Still, however, life was safe;
And I saw him turn and laugh;
"Friend," cried he, "adieu! lie low,
While the wintry storms shall blow;
When the spring has calm'd the main,
You shall rise and float again."

Soon I saw him with dismay,
Spread his wings and soar away;
Now I mark his rapid flight;
Now he leaves my aching sight;
He  is gone, whom I adore;
It is in vain to seek him more.

How I trembled, then, and fear'd,
When my LOVE had disappeared!
"Wilt thou leave me thus," I cried,
"Whelm'd beneath the rolling tide?'
Vain attempt to reach his ear!
LOVE was gone, and would not hear.

Ah! return and love me still;
See me subject to thy will;
Frown with wrath, or smile with grace,
Only let me see thy face!
Evil I have none to fear;
All is good, if thou art near.

Yet he leaves me — cruel fate!
Leaves me in my lost estate
Have I sinn'd? O, say wherein;
Tell me, and forgive my sin!
King, and Lord, whom I adore,
Shall I see thy face no more?

Be  not angry; I resign,
Henceforth, all my will to thine;
I consent that thou depart,
Though thine absence break my heart;
Go, then, and forever too;
All is right, that thou wilt do.

This was just what LOVE intended;
He was now no more offended;
Soon as I became a child,
LOVE return'd to me and smiled;
Never strife shall more betide,
'Twixt the Bridegroom and his Bride.

— Madame Guyon, as translated by William Cowper.

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