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, March 30, 2024

Madame Guyon Seeks Spiritual Advice

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

Reference to her early views of her Christian state. Her surprise at the discovery of the remains of sin in herself. Seeks assistance and advice from others. Remarks on the religious character of that age. Consults with Genevieve Granger, the Prioress of the Benedictines.

In this season of temptation and penitence, of trial and of comparative despondency, she looked around for advice and assistance. Not fully informed, as she herself expressly states, in respect to the nature of the inward life, she felt perplexed and confounded at the knowledge of her own situation. In the first joy of her spiritual espousals, she seems to have looked upon herself, as is frequently the case at that period of religious experience, not only as a sinner forgiven for the sins which are past; but what is a very different thing, as a sinner saved from the commission of sin for the present, and in all future time. Looking at the subject in the excited state of her young love, when the turbulent emotions perplex the calm exercises of the judgment, she appears to have regarded the victory which God had given her, as one which would stand against all possible assaults; the greatness of her triumph for to-day, scarcely exceeding the strength of her confidence for to-moirow. She felt no sting in her conscience; she bore no cloud on her brow.  

Monday, March 18, 2024

A Faith that Overcomes Anger

Holy anger implies a strong faith.

Again, God has promised in many passages of his holy Word, his aid and protection to those, who endeavor to fulfill his purposes by obeying his will. “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.” The man, who truly believes in God’s veracity, and of course who believes in his promises of assistance, will find his purposes and efforts much strengthened by such belief. This, as is well known, is the result of a law of our nature, which is universal in its operation, namely, that we shall find our purposes strengthened and shall put forth the stronger effort, where we have some hope and expectation of succeeding. The man, therefore, who has this faith in God, will be much more likely to succeed in his attempts at keeping the angry passions under control, than one who is without faith.

Sunday, March 17, 2024

Wickedness and the Plan of God

Holy anger implies a strong faith:

In the first place, God teaches us, or rather it is one of the received principles or doctrines of Christian faith, that it is a part of God’s plan, in the operations of his mysterious providence, to let wicked men manifest their wickedness. On the supposition that sin exists in the universe, of which we have such clear and melancholy evidence, God is willing, for purposes which are best known to his own infinite wisdom, that those, who have sin in their hearts, should manifest it in their conduct, in order that their condemnation, which follows in its own appointed hour, may be seen and known to be just. He is willing also, that those, who do not sin or whom he desires should be kept from sin, should see, in the lives of unholy men, the odiousness of sin. The Savior has himself said in language which has a significant and awful import, “It is impossible but that offenses will come.” [Luke 17:1.] The man of faith, therefore, knowing that sin develops itself in these relations and with these results, does not lose his confidence in God. He remains unshaken.

In the second place, it is one of the received principles of Christian faith, that God sometimes uses the wicked as instruments in the discipline of his own people. Perhaps the wrong doing of others manifests itself in injuries, of which we ourselves are the subjects. Seeing the agency of God, not in the sin but in the direction, which the sin is permitted to take in its relation to ourselves, the doctrine of faith in its inward operation would require us to be humble, to be patient, as those whom God, for wise reasons, sees fit to afflict. It is God’s will, that we should be afflicted in this manner. The principle of faith, existing practically in our hearts, will enable us to receive this affliction humbly and patiently, as we do other afflictions.

 — from The Life of Faith, Part 2, Chapter 8.


Saturday, March 16, 2024

How Could Godly Anger be Possible?

But taking the ground as we do, that no feeling of displeasure or anger is allowed to exist in a holy bosom but such as God approves and such as is analogous to his own holy anger, the question now presents itself, How is it possible for us to be angry in this manner? How is it possible for us, knowing the nature of the feeling as we do in our own consciousness, to be angry without being agitated; to feel deeply and at the same time to perceive calmly and clearly? And still more, how is it possible to have feelings of displeasure and anger, and at the same time to be in the spirit of prayer, and also to have kind feelings towards the subject of our anger?

We are aware, that this is a difficult problem for unsanctified nature to solve; but it is not beyond the reach and power of a vital Christianity. The answer is, as every one, who knows what it is to live to God and to God alone, will anticipate, WE MUST HAVE FAITH. Human discipline, standing by itself, may perhaps do something; but faith will do more. Faith, aided by human discipline not as a principle but as a humble and dependent auxiliary, will do all.

— from The Life of Faith, Part 2, Chapter 8.

Friday, March 15, 2024

Godly Anger? — or Not.

"Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:" — Ephesians 4:26 (King James Version).

One of the characteristics of that anger, which is like God’s anger and is holy, is, that it leaves the intellectual perception unagitated and clear. Another mark is this. If our anger is like God’s anger, we shall be in that state of mind, which will enable us to bring our displeasure, and all that relates to it, to God for his direction and assistance. In other words, if we are so displeased, so angry, that we cannot calmly bring the matter before God and ask his direction and blessing in relation to it, we may be certain, that there is something wrong in it. There is nothing, as it seems to us, in joy or in sorrow, nothing in friendship or in enmity, nothing in any state of mind or in any situation of life, which authorizes the omission of prayer. And if we need it at any one time more than another, it must be in a state of mind so full of uncertainty and hazard as that which we are now considering. If, therefore, we are so displeased, so angry that we cannot pray, we may be assured that our anger is not like God’s anger, and is wrong.

Sunday, March 10, 2024

Instinctive Resentment

 Perhaps we ought to add here, that in these remarks [concerning resentments] we have more especial reference to deliberate and voluntary displeasure or anger, than to that modification of anger, which, in order to distinguish it, is termed instinctive

There is at times in man an instinctive resentment, arising very suddenly, but continuing only till the laws of the mind will permit the perceptive and reasoning powers to come to our aid, which during the brief time of its continuance is obviously beyond the control of reason and the will; and which, therefore, may cause a momentary agitation of the physical system and a momentary confusion of the intellect, without our being able to prevent it. To this form of resentment, so far as it is truly and absolutely instinctive, it will be naturally understood, that the remarks, which have [previously] been made, will not fully apply. And the exception, which is interposed here in regard to the Malevolent affections, might very properly be made in respect to those of a different character, which have already been considered. 

When it was held that the benevolent affections should be subjected to the control of the will and to the law of right reason, it obviously could not be meant, that the obligation thus to control them extends to that very sudden and momentary action, which is purely instinctive; and which, in being such, is never reached by the reason and the will, and never has and never can have a moral character. And this can be said, we think, with safety to the suggestion, that if our instincts, as well as other parts of our nature, have become perverted and depraved in the Fall of Adam, so much so as properly to be described as fallen and depraved instincts, they have an indirect relation to the Atonement, and furnish grounds of humiliation and confession.

 — from The Life of Faith, Part 2, Chapter 8.

Saturday, March 9, 2024


It is hardly necessary to say, that the feeling of displeasure, which is but another name for the feeling of resentment, when it exists in its milder or mitigated form, is a state of mind, which by the laws of our nature, is appropriate to wrong-doing. Of the nature of this feeling, it is not necessary to attempt to give any explanation, as it is too well understood in the consciousness of every one; although it may properly be said, that the natural law of its origin and action requires it to be more or less intense, in accordance with the nature and degree of the wrong-doing. Such are the facts and relations of things, and such is the obvious and precise adaptation of the human mind to such facts and relations, that displeased or angry feelings not only come into existence by their own natural laws of origin; but if they arise on their appropriate occasions, and in their appropriate degree, they seem to be justly regarded as right feelings. To look on wrong-doing, knowing it to be truly and deliberately such, without disapprobation and without feeling displeased, would itself be as really a crime, as the wrongdoing which is witnessed. And accordingly the Scriptures, if we rightly understand them, allow of displeased or angry feelings under some circumstances. God himself is represented as being displeased or angry, and as having abundant reason to be displeased or angry, on certain occasions. And there are statements in the Gospel, which either assert or imply the same thing in relation to the Savior.

Saturday, March 2, 2024

The Divine Life

Oh, sacred union with the Perfect Mind!
Transcendent bliss, which Thou alone canst give!
How blest are they, this pearl of price who find,
And dead to earth have learnt in Thee to live.

Thus, in thine arms of love, Oh God, I lie,
Lost, and forever lost, to all but Thee.
My happy soul, since it hath learnt to die,
Hath found new life in thine Infinity.

Oh, go and learn this lesson of the Cross;
And tread the way which saints and prophets trod,
Who, counting life, and self, and all things loss,
Have found in inward death the life of God.

Religious Maxims (1846).

Remarks on Holy Living

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

Inquiries on holy living

There is but one way for the Christian to walk in. It is not possible that there should be any other. "A strait and narrow way" it is true; but still, properly speaking, not a difficult way. Undoubtedly it is difficult to a heart naturally averse to it, to enter into it, and to become entirely naturalized to it. Sometimes the difficulty is very great; but when once the process is fairly begun, and the influence of old habits is broken, the difficulty is, in a great degree, removed; and it becomes true, as the Saviour has said, that His "yoke is easy, and His burden is light." 

Friday, March 1, 2024

A Visit to St. Cloud

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

Visit to St. Cloud — Sorrow

If, under the impulse of an unsanctified curiosity, she gave an unguarded look, — if in a moment of temptation she uttered a hasty reply to the rebukes and accusations of others, (moral delinquencies which some might not regard as very great,) — she found that it cost her bitter tears. Even when she dispensed her munificent charity; which brought consolation to the poor and suffering, she sometimes found, with sorrow of heart, that the donation which ought to have been made with "a single  eye," was corrupted by a glance at the rewards of self-complacency and of worldly applause.