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.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Opposition to Her New Faith

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

Reflections on her conversion.

Religion is the same in the Catholic and in the Protestant. I speak now of the substance, and not of the form; of the  internal and not of the external. Religion, so far as it is religion, is always the same; the same in all lands and in all ages; the same in its nature, the same in its results; always allied to angels and God, and always meeting with the opposition of that which is not angelic and is not God. It is not surprising, therefore, that Madame Guyon's new heart should meet with opposition from the world's old one.

When the world saw that I had quitted it, it persecuted me, and turned me into ridicule. I became the subject of its conversation, of its fabulous stories, and of its amusement. Given up to its irreligion and pleasures, it could not bear that a woman who was little more than twenty years of age, should thus make war against it, and overcome it.

Her age was not the only circumstance that was remembered. That youth should quit the world was something, but that wealth, intelligence, and beauty, combined with youth, in the same person, should quit it, was much more. On merely human principles it could not well be explained. Some were offended; some spoke of her as a person under some species of mental delusion; some attributed her conduct to stupidity, inquiring very significantly, "What can all this mean? This lady has the reputation of knowledge and talent. But we see nothing of it."

But God was with her. She relates that, about this time, she and her husband went into the country on some business. She did not leave her religion on leaving her home. The river Seine flowed near the place where they staid. "On the banks  of the river,"  she says, "finding a dry and solitary place, I sought intercourse with my God." Her husband had gone with her into the country; but he did not accompany her there. There is something impressive in this little incident. She went alone to the banks of the Seine, to the waters of the beautiful river, and into the dry and solitary place. It was indeed a solitary place; but can we say that she who went there, went alone? God was with her. God, who made the woods and the waters, and who, in the beginning, walked with his holy ones amid the trees of the garden. "The communications of Divine Love," she adds, "were unutterably sweet to my soul in that retirement." And thus, with God for her portion, she was happy in the loss of that portion which was taken away from her.

"Let the world despise and leave me;
They have left my Savior too;
Human hearts and looks deceive me
Thou art not, like them, untrue.

"Man may trouble and distress me,
'Twill but drive me to Thy breast;
Life with trials hard may press me;
Heaven will bring me sweeter rest."

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

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