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 1, 2017

Finding a Bible

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

At ten years of age she was taken home again. After a short residence at home, she was placed at the Dominican Convent, probably the same of which De La Force gives so particular an account in his work, entitled Nouvelle Description De La France. It was founded in 1242.

She says:

I stayed, only a little while at home. The reason of my remaining so short a time was this: a nun of the Dominican Order, who belonged to a distinguished family, and was an intimate friend of my father, solicited him to place me in her Convent, of which she was Prioress. This lady had conceived a great affection for me; and she promised my father, that she would take care of me herself, and would make me lodge in her own chamber. But circumstances occurred, which prevented her from fulfilling her intentions. Various troubles arose in the Religious Community, of which she had the charge, which necessarily occupied her attention; so that she was not in a situation to take much care of me.

Her opportunities for intellectual improvement, during her residence in the Dominican Convent, where she continued during eight months, were interrupted in some degree by sickness. But with a mind of naturally enlarged capacity, and which seemed to have an instinct for knowledge, she could hardly fail to improve.

During her residence at this place, she was left more with herself than had been customary with her. But her solitary hours, secluded as she was in a great degree from objects that might have distracted her attention, were not unprofitable ones.

One circumstance which occurred at this time, is worthy of particular notice. The pupils of the Convent, although they received religious instruction in other ways, do not appear to have been put in possession of the Bible, and to have had the use of it in private. A Bible, however, had been providentially left, by whose instrumentality or from what motive is unknown, in the chamber which was assigned to Mademoiselle De La Mothe. Young as she was, she seems to have had a heart to appreciate, in some degree, the value of this heaven-sent gift. "I spent whole days," she says, "in reading it; giving no attention to other books or other subjects from morning to night. And having great powers of recollection, I committed to memory the historical parts entirely."  It is certainly not improbable that these solitary perusals of the Bible had an influence on her mind through life, not only in enlarging its sphere of thought and activity, but by teaching her to look to God alone for direction, and by laying deep and broad the foundations of that piety which she subsequently experienced.

She remained at the Convent of the Dominicans eight months, after which she returned home. 

— edited from The Life of Madam Guyon Volume 1, Chapter 2.

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