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, October 21, 2017

Opposition in Her Family

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

Reflections on her conversion — and the opposition that arose.

Happy would it have been, if she had been exposed only to the ridicule and the opposition of those who were without. Among the members and relatives of her own family still less than ever, with the exception of her father, did she find any heart that corresponded fully to her own. It seems to have been the great object of her step-mother, who was exceedingly desirous to retain the influence over her son which she had exercised previous to his marriage, to weaken and destroy his affections for his wife. Her object was cruel as it was wicked, although she probably justified herself in it, from the fear that the benevolent disposition of Madame Guyon, both before and after experienc­ing religion, might result in a waste of the property of the family, if she should possess all that influence with her hus­band, to which such a wife was entitled. "My mother-in-law," she says, "persuaded my husband that I let everything go to wreck, and that, if she did not take care, he would be ruined." The step-mother's plan of alienating her son's affections from his wife, was seconded by the maid-servant, who has been mentioned,— a laborious and artful woman, who had rendered herself almost absolutely necessary to her master in those seasons of sickness and physical suffering of which he had a large share. The result of their combined efforts was, that he became unsettled and vacillating in his affections, — not constant in his love; sometimes and perhaps we may say, always, when separated from their influence. truly and even passionately affectionate; at other times, and more frequently, he was distrustful and cruel.

In this perplexed and conflicting state of mind, it is not surprising that we find his language and his conduct equally conflicting, equally inconsistent. Sometimes he speaks to her in the language of violence and abuse, sometimes in a relenting spirit and with affection. He was not pleased with the religious change which appeared in his wife. "My husband," she says, "was out of humor with my devotion; it became insupportable to him.  'What!' says he, 'you love God so much that you love me no longer.' So little did he comprehend that the true conjugal love is that which is regulated by religious sentiment, and which God himself forms in the heart that loves him."  At  other times, when left to his better nature, he insisted much on her being present with him; and frankly recognizing what he saw was very evident, he said to her,  "One sees plainly, that you never lose the presence of God." 

— edited from The Life of Madam Guyon (1877) Volume 1, Chapter 8.

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