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.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

An Unhappy Marriage

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

It is but reasonable to anticipate, that the union of the sexes and the establishment of families, authorized as they are by nature and by religion, will contribute to happiness. But this propitious result often depends on adjustments of age, of position in life, and of personal character, which are not always properly regarded. In the case before us, the circumstance of great wealth and of noble rank did not compensate for diversity of disposition and for great disparity of age. It could hardly be expected, that Madame Guyon, (as we shall hereafter designate her,) with all her advantages of beauty, talent, and honorable position in society, could be entirely satisfied, at sixteen years of age, with a husband twenty-two years older than herself, whom she had seen but three days before her marriage, and who had obtained her through the principle of filial obedience, rather than through that of warm and voluntary affection.

She says:

No sooner, was I at the house of my husband, than I perceived it would be for me a house of mourning. In my father's house every attention had been paid to my manners. In order to cultivate propriety of speech and command of language, I had been encouraged to speak freely on the various questions which were started in our family circle. There everything was set off in full view; everything was characterized by elegance. But it was very different in the house of my husband, which was chiefly under the direction of his mother, who had long been a widow, and who regarded nothing else but saving. The elegance of my father's house, which I regarded as the result of polite dispositions, they sneered at as pride. In my father's house whatever I said was listened to with attention, and often with applause; but here, if I had occasion to speak, I was listened to only to be contradicted and reproved. If I spoke well, they said I was endeavoring to give them a lesson in good speaking. If I uttered my opinions on any subject of discussion which came up, I was charged with desiring to enter into a dispute; and instead of being applauded, I was simply told to hold my tongue, and was scolded from morning till night. I was very much surprised at this change, and the more so as the vain dreams of my youth anticipated an increase, rather than a diminution of the happiness and the consideration which I had enjoyed.
— from The Life of Madam Guyon Volume 1, Chapter 5.

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