The subject of this Memoir was born the thirteenth of April, 1648. She was baptized the same year, on the twenty-fourth of May; Her father's name was Claude Bouviéres De La Mothe. The place of her birth was Montargis, a French town of some note, situated about fifty miles to the south of Paris, in the part of France known previously to the French Revolution as the Province of Orleanois.
Of her parents we know but little. It would seem, however, that they were very worthy people, holding a highly honorable position among the leading families of Montargis, and that both of them, especially the father, were deeply impressed with religious sentiments. Her father bore the title of Seigneur or Lord de La Mothe Vergonville. Her father and mother had both been previously married; and both had children previous to their second marriage. The father had a son and daughter; the mother had a daughter; and these were their only children, so far as we have any account, when they became united with each other. The subject of this Memoir, whose remarkable personal and religious history has made her an object of interest to succeeding ages, was the offspring of this second marriage. Her maiden name was Jeanne Marie Bouviéres De La Mothe.
In very early infancy she was afflicted with a complaint, which reduced her to such extremity, that her life was for some time despaired of. To her narrow escape from death at this period, she refers in after life, with feelings which her religious experience was naturally calculated to inspire. Her life had its vicissitudes, its trials, its deep sorrows; but in view of the sanctification which had attended them, she was deeply thankful, that God had been pleased to spare her. "It is owing," she says, "to thy goodness, O God, that there now remains to me the consolation of having sought and followed Thee; of having laid myself upon the altar of sacrifice in the strength of pure love; of having labored for thine interests and glory. In the commencement of my earthly existence death and life seemed to combat together; but life proved victorious over death. Oh, might I but hope, that, in the conclusion of my being here on earth, life will be forever victorious over death! Doubtless it will be so, if Thou alone dost live in me, O my God, who art at present my only Life, my only Love."
[TO BE CONTINUED]
— from The Life of Madame Guyon (1877) Volume 1, Chapter 1.