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.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

She Now Sees God in All Things

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

Reflections of her conversion.

Sustaining the relations of a wife, a mother, and a daughter, and seeing now more clearly into the ways and requisitions of Providence, she endeavored, from higher motives and in a better manner than ever before, to discharge the duties which she owed to her father, her husband, and her children. I speak of her duties to her children, because, previously to the time of which we are now speaking, God had been pleased to give her another son. The birth of her first son, — whom she frequently names as being made, through the perverting influence of her step-mother, a son of trial and sorrow, — has already been mentioned. The second son, who gave better promise both for himself and others, was born in 1667. We shall have occasion to recur to him again, although we have scarcely anything recorded of him, except the few painful incidents of his early death. These new and expanding relations furnished opportunities of duty and occasions of trial, which ceased from this time, at least in a great degree, to be met in the strength of worldly motives or in the arts of worldly wisdom. God, in whom alone she felt she could trust, became her wisdom and strength, as well as her consolation.

We may well and truly say, whatever allowance it may be necessary to make for human infirmity, that God was her portion. She could say with the Psalmist, "The Lord is my fortress and deliverer,— my strength in whom I will trust." The views, which she took of religious truth and duty, were of an elevated character, without being mixed and perverted, so far as we can perceive, with elements that are false and fanatical. It is true, that, even at this early period of her experience, the religious impulse, as if it had an instinctive conviction of the end to which it was tending, took a higher position than is ordinary, but without failing to be guided by the spirit of sound wisdom. If she was a woman, who both by nature and grace felt deeply, she was also a woman who thought dearly and strongly.

Among other things it is worthy of notice, that she distinctly recognized, not only intellectually, but, what is far more important, she recognized practically, that God orders and pervades our allotment in life; that God is in life, not in the mitigated and merely speculative sense of the term, but really and fully; not merely as a passive spectator, but as the inspiring impulse and soul of all that is not sin; in life, in all life, in all the situations and modifications of life, for joy or for sorrow, for good or for evil. The practical as well as speculative recognition of this principle, may be regarded as a sort of first  step towards a thorough walking with God. A heart, unsubdued, a heart in which worldly principles predominate, does not like to see God in all things, and tries unceasingly to shake off the yoke of divine providence. To the subdued heart, on the contrary,— to the heart, in which christian principles predominate, — that yoke always is, and of necessity always must be, just in proportion as such principles predominate, "the yoke which is easy and the burden which is light." Early did this Heaven-taught woman learn this. And she was willing to apply to her own situation, and to her own responsible relations, what she had thus learned.

It is one thing to have the charge of a family, and another to know and to feel, that this responsible position is the arrangement and the gift of Providence. Providence, whose eye is unerring, had placed her in that relation; and whatever cares or sorrows might attend her position, she felt that, as a woman and emphatically as a Christian woman, she must recognize it as the place which God had appointed, and as involving the sphere of duty which God had imposed.

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

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