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A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 24

Lectio Divina
Of the way to attain Divine Union

It is impossible to attain Divine Union solely by the activity of meditation, or by the meltings of the affections, or even by the highest degree of luminous and distinctly-comprehended prayer. There are many reasons for this, the chief of which are as follow:-

First, According to Scripture “no man shall see God and live” (Exod. xxxiii. 20). Now all the exercises of discursive prayer, and even of active contemplation, while esteemed as the summit and end of the passive, and not merely as a preparative to it, are still living exercises by which we cannot see God; that is to say, be united with Him; for all that is of man’s own power or exertion must first die, be it ever so noble, ever so exalted.

S. John relates “That there was a great silence in heaven” (Rev. viii. 1). Now heaven represents the foundation and centre of the soul, wherein, ere the Majesty of God appears, all must be hushed to silence. All the efforts, nay, the very existence of self-sufficiency must be destroyed, because nothing is opposite to God but self-sufficiency; and all the malignity of man is in this failing, as in the power of its evil nature, insomuch that the purity of a soul increases in proportion as it loses this quality; till at length that which had been a fault, while the soul lived in self-sufficiency and so acted, becomes no longer such, from the purity and innocence it hath acquired by departing from that which caused the dissimilitude between it and God.

Secondly, To unite two things so opposite, as the impurity of the creature and the purity of God, the simplicity of God and the multiplicity of man, much more is requisite than the impotent efforts of the creature: no less than a singular and efficacious operation of the Almighty can ever accomplish this, for things must be reduced to some familiarity before they can blend and become one. Can the impurity of dross be united with the purity of gold? What then does God do? He sends His own Wisdom before Him, as the last fire shall be sent upon earth to destroy by its activity all that is impure therein; and as nothing can resist the power of that fire, in like manner this Wisdom dissolves and destroys all the impurities of the creature and disposes it for Divine Union.

This impurity, so opposite to Union, consists in self-sufficiency and activity.

This is the source and fountain of all that defilement and corruption which can never be allied to Essential Purity; the rays of the sun may glance, indeed, upon filth and mire, but can never be united with them. Activity obstructs Union; for God being an Infinite Stillness, the soul, in order to be united to Him, must participate in this stillness, else the contrariety between stillness and activity would prevent assimilation.

Therefore, the soul can never arrive at Divine Union but by the repose or stillness of the will, nor can it ever become One with God but by being re-established in the purity of its first creation, that is, in this central repose.

God purifies the soul by His Wisdom, as refiners do metals in the furnace. Gold cannot be purified but by fire, which gradually separates from and consumes all that is earthy and heterogeneous: it must be melted and dissolved, and all impure mixtures taken away by casting it again and again into the furnace; thus it is refined from all internal corruption, and even exalted to a state incapable of farther purification.

The goldsmith now no longer discovers any adulterate mixture; its purity is perfect, its simplicity complete. The fire no longer touches it; and were it to remain an age in the furnace its purity would not be increased nor its substance diminished. Then is it fit for the most exquisite workmanship: and if thereafter this gold seems obscured or defiled, it is no more than an accidental defilement contracted by its contiguity to some impure body; but this is only superficial, and widely different from its former impurity, which was hidden in the very centre and ground of its nature and, as it were, identified with it. Those, however, who are ignorant of this process and its blessed effects would be apt to despise and reject the vessel of pure gold sullied by some external pollution, and prefer an impure and gross metal that appeared superficially bright and polished.

Farther, the goldsmith never mingles together the pure and the impure gold, lest the dross of the one should corrupt the other; before they can be united they must first be equally refined; he therefore plunges the impure metal into the furnace till all its dross is purged away and it becomes fully prepared for incorporation and union with the pure gold.

This is what S. Paul means when he declares that “the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is” (1 Cor. iii. 13). He adds, “If any man’s work be burnt, he shall suffer loss; yet he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire” (15 verse). He here intimates that there is a species of works so degraded by impure mixtures that though the mercy of God accepts them, yet they must pass through the fire to be purged from the contamination of Self; and it is in this sense that God is said to “examine and judge our righteousness” (Ps. xiv. 3), because that, “by the deeds of the law, there shall no flesh be justified, but by the righteousness of God, which is by faith in Jesus Christ” (Rom. iii. 20, etc.).

Thus we see that the Divine Justice and Wisdom, as an unremitting fire, must devour and destroy all that is earthly, sensual, and carnal, and all self-activity, before the soul can be fitted for and capable of Union with God. Now this purification can never be accomplished by the industry of fallen man; on the contrary, he submits to it always with reluctance: he is so enamoured of self, and so averse to its destruction, that did not God act upon him powerfully and with authority, he would for ever resist.

It may, perhaps, be objected here that as God never robs man of his free will he can always resist the Divine Operations, and that I therefore err in saying God acts thus absolutely and without the consent of man.

Let me, however, explain myself. By man’s giving a passive consent, God, without usurpation, may assume full power and entire guidance; for having, in the beginning of his conversion, made an unreserved surrender of himself to all that God wills of him or by him, he thereby gave an active consent to whatsoever God thereafter might operate or require. But when God begins to burn, destroy, and purify, then the soul, not perceiving the salutary design of these operations, shrinks from them: and as the gold seems rather to blacken than brighten when first put into the furnace, so it conceives that its purity is lost and that its temptations are sins; insomuch that if an active and explicit consent were then requisite the soul could scarcely give it, nay, often would withhold it. The utmost the soul can do is to remain firm in a passive disposition, enduring as well as it is able all these Divine Operations, which it neither can nor will obstruct.

In this manner, therefore, the soul is purified from all proper, distinct, perceptible, and multiplied operations which constitute the great dissimilitude between it and God: it is rendered, by degrees, conformed, and then uniform; and the passive capacity of the creature is elevated, ennobled, and enlarged, though in a secret and hidden manner, and therefore called mystical: but in all these operations the soul must concur passively. It is true, indeed, that at the beginning of its purification activity is requisite; which as the Divine Operations become stronger and stronger it must gradually cease, yielding itself up to the impulses of the Divine Spirit, till wholly absorbed in Him. But this is often a difficult and tedious process.

We do not then say, as some have falsely supposed, that there is no need of action in the process of Divine Purification; on the contrary, we affirm it is the gate; at which, however, we would not have those stop who are to obtain ultimate perfection, which is impractible, except the first helps are laid aside: for, however necessary they may have been at the entrance of the road, they become afterwards mere clogs, and greatly detrimental to those who adhere to them, preventing them from ever arriving at the end of their course. This made S. Paul say, “Forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forth to those which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling in Christ Jesus” (Phil. iii. 13).

Would you not say that he had lost his senses, who, having undertaken an important journey, should fix his abode at the first inn because he had been told that many travellers who had come that way had lodged in the house and made it their place of residence? All that we would wish then is, that souls should press toward the mark, should pursue their journey, and take the shortest and easiest road; not stopping at the first stage, but following the counsel and example of S. Paul, suffer themselves to be guided and governed by the Spirit of Grace which would infallibly conduct them to the end of their creation, the enjoyment of God. But while we confess that the enjoyment of God is the end for which alone we were created; that without holiness none can attain it: and that to attain it, we must necessarily pass through a severe and purifying process; how strange is it that we should dread and avoid this process, as if that could be the cause of evil or imperfection in the present life, which is to be productive of glory and blessedness in the life to come!

None can be ignorant that God is the Supreme Good; that essential blessedness consists in Union with Him; that the Saints are more or less glorified, according as this Union is more or less advanced; and that the soul cannot attain this Union by the mere activity of its own powers: for God communicates Himself to the soul in proportion as its passive capacity is great, noble, and extensive; it cannot be united to God but in simplicity and passivity; and as this Union is beatitude itself, the way to it in simplicity and passivity, instead of being evil, must be good, must be most free from delusion and danger, the safest, the surest, and the best.

Would Jesus Christ have made this the most perfect and necessary way had there been evil or danger therein? No! all can travel this road to blessedness; and all are called thereto, as to the enjoyment of God, which alone is beatitude, both in this world and the next. I say the enjoyment of God Himself and not His gifts which, as they do not constitute essential beatitude, cannot fully content an immortal spirit: the soul is so noble, so great, that the most exalted gifts of God cannot fill its immense capacity with happiness unless the Giver also bestows Himself. Now the whole desire of the Divine Being is to give Himself to every creature, according to the capacity with which it is endued; and yet, alas! how reluctantly man suffers himself to be drawn to God! how fearful is he to prepare for Divine Union!

Some say that we should not attempt, by our own ability, to place ourselves in this state. I grant it: but what a poor subterfuge is this? since I have all along asserted and proved that the utmost exertion of the highest created being could never accomplish this of itself: it is God alone must do it. The creature may, indeed, open the window; but it is the sun himself that must give the light.

The same persons say again that some may feign to have attained this blessed state: but, alas! none can any more feign this than the wretch, who is on the point of perishing with hunger can for a length of time feign to be full and satisfied; some wish or word, some sigh or sign, will inevitably escape him, and betray his famished state.

Since then none can attain this blessed state save those whom God Himself leads and places therein, we do not pretend to introduce any into it, but only to point out the shortest and safest road that leads to it: beseeching you not to be retarded in your progress by any external exercises, not to sit down a resident at the first inn, nor to be satisfied with the sweets which are tasted in the milk for babes. If the Water of Eternal Life is shown to some thirsty souls, how inexpressibly cruel would it be, by confining them to a round of external forms, to prevent their approaching it, so that their longing shall never be satisfied but they shall perish with thirst!

Let us all agree in the way, as we all agree in the end, which is evident and incontrovertible. The way has its beginning, progress, and end; and the nearer we approach the end, the farther is the beginning behind us: it is only by proceeding from one that we can ever arrive at the other. Would you get from the entrance to the distant end of the road without passing over the intermediate space? And surely, if the end is good, holy, and necessary, and the entrance also good, can that be condemnable, as evil, which is the necessary passage, the direct road leading from the one to the other?

O ye blind and foolish men, who pride yourselves on science, wisdom, wit, and power, how well do you verify what God hath said, that “His Secrets are hidden from the great and wise, and revealed unto The Little Ones – The Babes!”

Posts in this series:
Madame Guyon – A Spiritual Reading
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Preface
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 1
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 2
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 3
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 4
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 5
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 6
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 7
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 8
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 9
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 10
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 11
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 12
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 13
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 14
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 15
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 16
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 17
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 18
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 19
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 20
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 21
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 22
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 23

Posted in Books, Lectio Divina, Mysticism, Mystics, Prayer, Spiritual Practices | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 23

Lectio Divina
To Pastors and Teachers

If all who laboured for the conversion of others were to introduce them immediately into Prayer and the Interior Life, and make it their main design to gain and win over the heart, numberless as well as permanent conversions would certainly ensue. On the contrary, few and transient fruits must attend that labour which is confined to outward matters; such as burdening the disciple with a thousand precepts for external exercises, instead of leaving the soul to Christ by the occupation of the heart in Him.

If ministers were solicitous thus to instruct their parishioners; shepherds, while they watched their flocks, might have the Spirit of the primitive Christians, and the husbandman at the plough maintain a blessed intercourse with his God; the manufacturer, while he exhausts his outward man with labour, would be renewed in internal strength; and every species of vice would shortly disappear and every parishioner become a true follower of the Good Shepherd.

O when once the heart is gained, how easily is all moral evil corrected! it is, therefore, that God, above all things, requires the heart. It is the conquest of the heart alone that can extirpate those dreadful vices which are so predominant, such as drunkenness, blasphemy, lewdness, envy, and theft. Jesus Christ would become the universal and peaceful Sovereign, and the face of the Church would be wholly renewed.

The decay of internal piety is unquestionably the source of the various errors that have arisen in the Church; all which would speedily be sapped and overthrown should inward religion be re-established. Errors are only so far prejudicial to the soul as they tend to weaken faith and deter from prayer; and if, instead of engaging our wandering brethren in vain disputes, we could but teach them simply to believe and diligently to pray, we should lead them sweetly unto God.

O how inexpressibly great is the loss sustained by mankind from the neglect of the Interior Life! And how tremendous must the great day of retribution be to those who are entrusted with the care of souls, for not having discovered and dispensed to their flock this hidden treasure.

Some excuse themselves by saying that this is a dangerous way; pleading the incapacity of simple persons to comprehend spiritual matters. But the Oracles of Truth affirm the contrary: “The Lord loveth those who walk simply” (Prov. xii. 22). And where can be the danger of walking in the only true way, which is Jesus Christ? of giving up ourselves to Him, fixing our eye continually upon Him, placing all our confidence in His grace, and tending with all the strength of our soul to His pure Love?

The simple ones, so far from being incapable of this perfection, are, by their docility, innocence, and humility, peculiarly adapted and qualified for its attainment; and as they are not accustomed to reasoning, they are less employed in speculations, less tenacious of their own opinions. Even from their want of learning, they submit more freely to the teachings of the Divine Spirit: whereas others, who are blinded by self-sufficiency and enslaved by prejudice, give great resistance to the operations of Grace.

We are told in Scripture “that unto the simple God giveth the understanding of his law” (Ps. cxviii. 130); and we are also assured that God loveth to commune freely with them: “The Lord careth for the simple; I was reduced to extremity, and he saved me” (Ps. cxiv. 6). To warn Spiritual Fathers against preventing the little ones from coming to Christ, He Himself said to His Apostles, “Suffer little children to come unto me, for of such is the kingdom of Heaven” (Matt. xix. 14). It was the endeavor of the Apostles to prevent children from going to our Lord, which occasioned this gracious charge. Man frequently applies a remedy to the outward body, whilst the disease lies at the heart.

The cause of our being so unsuccessful in reforming mankind, especially those of the lower class, is our beginning with external matters; all our labours in this field do but produce such fruit as endures not: but if the key of the interior be first given, the exterior would be naturally and easily reformed. To teach man to seek God in his heart, to think of Him, to return to Him whenever he finds that he has wandered from Him, and to do and to suffer all things with a single eye to please Him, is the natural and ready process; it is leading the soul to the very source of Grace, wherein is to be found all that is necessary for sanctification.

I, therefore, conjure you all, O ye who have the care of souls, to put them at once into this way, which is Jesus Christ; nay, it is He Himself who conjures you, by the Precious Blood He hath shed for those entrusted to you, “to speak to the heart of Jerusalem” (Isa. xl. 2). O ye Dispensers of His Grace, ye Preachers of His Word, ye Ministers of His Sacraments, establish His Kingdom! – and that it may indeed be established, make Him Ruler over the hearts of His subjects! For as it is the heart alone that can oppose His Sovereignty, it is by the subjection of the heart that His Sovereignty is most highly exalted: “Give glory to the holiness of God, and he shall become your sanctification” (Isa. viii. 13). Compose catechisms particularly to teach prayer, not by reasoning nor by method, for the simple are incapable thereof; but to teach the prayer of the heart, not of the understanding; the prayer of God’s Spirit, not of man’s invention.

Alas! by wanting them to pray in elaborate forms, and to be curiously critical therein, you create their chief obstacles. The children have been led astray from the best of Fathers, by your endeavouring to teach them too refined, too polished a language. Go then, ye poor children, to your Heavenly Father; speak to Him in your natural language; and though it be ever so rude and barbarous in the opinion of men, it is not so to Him. A Father is much better pleased with an address which love and respect in the child throws into disorder, because He knows it proceeds from the heart, than by a formal and barren harangue, though ever so elaborate in the composition. The simple and undisguised emotions of filial love are infinitely more expressive than all language and all reasoning.

By forming instructions how to love by rule and method the Essential Love, men have in a great measure estranged themselves from Him. O how unnecessary is it to teach an art of loving! The language of Love, though natural to the lover, is nonsense and barbarism to him who loveth not. The best way to learn the love of God is to love Him. The ignorant and simple, because they proceed with more cordiality and simplicity, often become most perfect therein. The Spirit of God needs none of our arrangements and methods; when it pleaseth Him, He turns shepherds into prophets: and, so far from excluding any from the Temple of Prayer, He throws wide the gates, that all may enter; while Wisdom cries aloud in the highways, “Whoso is simple let him turn in hither” (Prov. ix. 4); and to the Fools she saith, “Come eat of my bread, and drink of the wine which I have mingled” (Prov. ix. 5). And doth not Jesus Christ Himself thank His Father for having hid the secrets of his kingdom from the wise and prudent and revealed them unto babes? (Matt. xi. 25).

Posts in this series:
Madame Guyon – A Spiritual Reading
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Preface
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 1
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 2
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 3
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 4
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 5
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 6
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 7
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 8
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 9
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 10
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 11
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 12
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 13
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 14
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 15
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 16
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 17
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 18
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 19
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 20
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 21
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 22

Posted in Books, Jesus Christ, Lectio Divina, Mysticism, Prayer, Sacraments, Sin, Soul, Spiritual Practices | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 22

Lectio Divina
Of Internal Acts

Acts are distinguished into External and Internal. External acts are those which bear relation to some sensible object, and are either morally good or evil, merely according to the nature of the principle from which they proceed. I intend here to speak only of Internal acts, those energies of the soul, by which it turns internally to some objects, and averts from others.

If during my application to God I should form a will to change the nature of my act, I thereby withdraw myself from God, and turn to created objects, and that in a greater or less degree according to the strength of the act: and if, when I am turned towards the creature, I would return to God, I must necessarily form an act for that purpose; and the more perfect this act is, the more complete is the conversion.

Till conversion is perfected many reiterated acts are necessary; for it is generally progressive, though with some it is almost instantaneous. My act, however, should consist in a continual turning unto God, an exertion of every faculty and power of the soul purely for Him, agreeably to the instructions of the Son of Sirach: “Re-unite all the motions of thy heart in the holiness of God” and to the example of David, “I will keep my whole strength for thee” (Ps. lviii. 10), which is done by earnestly re-entering into one’s self. As Isaiah saith, “Return to your heart” (Isa. xlvi. 8); for we have strayed from our heart by sin, and it is our heart only that God requires, “My son give me thine heart, and let thine eye observe my ways” (Prov. xxiii. 26). To give the heart to God is to have the whole eternal energy of the soul ever centring in Him, that we may be rendered conformable to His will. We must, therefore, continue invariably turned to God from our very first application to Him.

But the soul being weak and unstable, and accustomed to turn to external objects, is consequently prone to dissipation. This evil, however, will be counteracted if the soul, on perceiving the aberration, by a pure act of return to God, instantly replaces itself again in Him; and this act subsists as long as the conversion by the powerful influence of a simple and unfeigned return to God lasts: and as many reiterated acts form a habit, the soul contracts the habit of conversion, and that act which was before interrupted and distinct becomes continual.

The soul should not then be perplexed about forming an act which already subsists, and which, indeed, it cannot attempt to form without difficulty and constraint; it even finds that it is withdrawn from its proper state under pretence of seeking that which is in reality acquired, seeing the habit is already formed and is confirmed in habitual conversion and habitual love. It is seeking one act by the help of many, instead of continuing attached to God by one simple act alone.

We may remark that at times we form with facility many distinct yet simple acts, which shows that we have wandered, and that we re-enter our heart after having strayed from it; yet when we have re-entered we should remain there in peace. We err, therefore, in supposing that we do not form acts; we form them continually, but they should be in their nature conformable to the degree of our spiritual advancement.

The greatest difficulty with most spiritual people arises from their not clearly comprehending this matter. Now some acts are transient and distinct, others are continual; and again, some are direct, and others reflex. All cannot form the first, neither are all in a state suited to form the last. The first are adapted to those who have strayed, and who require a distinguishable exertion, proportioned to the degree of their deviation, which, if inconsiderable, an act of the most simple kind is sufficient.

By the continued act I mean that whereby the soul is altogether turned toward God in a direct tendency, which always subsists, and which it doth not renew unless it has been interrupted. The soul being thus turned is in charity, and abides therein, “and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God” (1 John iv. 16). The soul then, as it were, existeth and reposeth in this habitual act, but free from sloth or torpor; for still there is an unintermitted act subsisting, which is a sweet sinking into the Deity, whose attraction becomes more and more powerful; and in following this potent attraction, the soul presses farther, and sinks continually deeper, into the ocean of Divine Love, maintaining an activity infinitely more powerful, vigorous, and effectual than that which served to accomplish its first return.

Now the soul that is thus profoundly and vigorously active, being wholly given up to God, doth not perceive its activity, because it is direct and not reflex; and this is the cause why some, who do not express themselves properly, say that they do not act at all; but it is a mistake, for they were never more truly or nobly active: they should rather say that they did not distinguish their acts than that they did not act. I allow they do not act of themselves, but they are drawn, and they follow the attraction. Love is the weight which sinks them into God, as into an infinite sea, wherein they descend with inconceivable rapidity from one profound depth to another.

It is then an impropriety to say that we do not form acts: all form acts, but the manner of their formation is not alike in all. The cause of the mistake is this, all who know they should act are desirous of acting distinguishably and perceptibly. But this cannot be; distinct and sensible acts are for beginners, and acts of a higher nature for those in a more advanced state. To stop in the former, which are weak and of little profit, is to debar one’s self of the latter; and again, to attempt the latter without having passed through the former is a no less considerable error.

All things should then be done in their season. Every state has its commencement, its progress, and its consummation; and it is an unhappy error to stop in the beginning. There is even no art but what hath its progress; and at first we must labour with diligence and toil, but at last we shall reap the harvest of our industry. When the vessel is in port the mariners are obliged to exert all their strength that they may clear her thence and put to sea; but at length they turn her with facility as they please. In like manner, while the soul remains in sin and creaturely entanglements, very frequent and strenuous endeavours are requisite to effect its freedom; the cords which withhold it must be loosed; and then by strong and vigorous efforts it gathers itself inwards, pushing off gradually from the old port; and in leaving that at a distance it proceeds to the interior, the haven to which it wishes to steer.

When the vessel is thus turned, in proportion as she advances on the sea, she leaves the land behind; and the farther she departs from the old harbour, the less difficulty and labour is requisite in moving her forward: at length she begins to get sweetly under sail and now proceeds so swiftly in her course that the oars which have become useless are laid aside. How is the pilot now employed? He is content with spreading the sails and holding the rudder. To spread the sails is to lay one’s self before God in the prayer of simple exposition, that we may be acted upon by His Spirit: to hold the rudder is to restrain our hearts from wandering from the true course, recalling it gently, and guiding it steadily to the dictates of the Blessed Spirit, which gradually gain possession and dominion of the heart, just as the wind by degrees fills the sails and impels the vessel. While the winds are fair the pilot and mariners rest from their labours, and the vessel glides rapidly along without their toil; and when they thus repose and leave the vessel to the wind, they make more way in one hour than they had done in a length of time by all their former efforts: were they even now to attempt using the oar they would not only fatigue themselves, but retard the vessel by their ill-timed labours.

This is the manner of acting we should pursue interiorly; it will, indeed, advance us in a short time, by the Divine impulsion, infinitely farther than a whole life spent in reiterated acts of self-exertion; and whosoever will take this path will find it easier than any other.

If the wind is contrary and blows a storm, we must cast anchor to withhold the vessel: our anchor is a firm confidence and hope in our God, waiting patiently the calming of the tempest and the return of a favourable gale as David waited patiently for the Lord, and He inclined unto him and heard his cry (Ps. xl. 1). We must, therefore, be resigned to the Spirit of God, giving up ourselves wholly to His Divine Guidance.

Posts in this series:
Madame Guyon – A Spiritual Reading
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Preface
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 1
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 2
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 3
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 4
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 5
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 6
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 7
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 8
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 9
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 10
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 11
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 12
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 13
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 14
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 15
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 16
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 17
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 18
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 19
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 20
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 21

Posted in Books, God, Good and Evil, Lectio Divina, Mysticism, Mystics, Prayer, Soul, Spirit, Will | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 21

Lectio Divina
The Noble Results of this Species of Prayer

Some persons, when they hear of the prayer of silence, falsely imagine, that the soul remains stupid, dead, and inactive. But, unquestionably, it acteth therein, more nobly and more extensively than it had ever done before; for God Himself is the mover, and the soul now acteth by the agency of His Spirit.

When S. Paul speaks of our being led by the Spirit of God, it is not meant that we should cease from action; but that we should act through the internal agency of His Grace. This is finely represented by the Prophet Ezekiel’s vision of the “wheels, which had a Living Spirit; and whithersoever the Spirit was to go, they went; they ascended, and descended, as they were moved; for the Spirit of Life was in them, and they returned not when they went” (Ezek. i. 18). Thus the soul should be equally subservient to the will of that Vivifying Spirit wherewith it is informed, and scrupulously faithful to follow only as that moves. These motions now never tend to return, in reflection on the creatures or itself; but go forward, in an incessant approach towards the chief end.

This action of the soul is attended with the utmost tranquillity. When it acts of itself, the act is forced and constrained; and, therefore, it can the more easily perceive and distinguish it: but when it acteth under the influence of the Spirit of Grace, its action is so free, so easy, and so natural, that it almost seems as if it did not act at all: “He hath set me at large, he hath delivered me, because he delighted in me” (Psal. xviii. 19).

When the soul is in its central tendency, or, in other words, is returned through recollection into itself; from that moment the central attraction becomes a most potent action, infinitely surpassing in its energy every other species. Nothing, indeed, can equal the swiftness of this tendency to the centre: and though an action, yet it is so noble, so peaceful, so full of tranquility, so natural and spontaneous, that it appears to the soul as if it did not act at all.

When a wheel rolls slowly we can easily distinguish its parts; but when its motion is rapid we can distinguish nothing. So the soul, which rests in God, hath an activity exceedingly noble and elevated, yet altogether peaceful: and the more peaceful it is, the swifter is its course; because it is proportionately given up to that Spirit, by which it is moved and directed.

This attracting spirit is no other than God Himself, Who, in drawing us, causes us to run unto Him. How well did the spouse understand this when she said, “Draw me, and we will run after thee” (Cant. i. 3). Draw me unto Thee, O my Divine centre, by the secret springs of my existence, and all my powers and senses shall follow the potent magnetism! This simple attraction is both an ointment to heal, and a perfume to allure: “we follow,” saith she, “the fragrance of thy perfumes”; and though so powerfully magnetic it is followed by the soul freely, and without constraint; for it is equally delightful as forcible; and whilst it attracts by its potency, it charms with its sweetness. “Draw me,” saith the spouse, “and we will run after Thee.” She speaketh of and to herself: “draw me,” – behold the unity of the centre, which attracteth! “We will run,” – behold the correspondence and course of all the senses and powers in following that attraction!

Instead then of promoting idleness, we promote the highest activity by inculcating a total dependence on the Spirit of God as our moving principle; for it is “in him we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts xvii. 28). This meek dependence on the Spirit of God is indispensably necessary to reinstate the soul in its primeval unity and simplicity, that it may thereby attain the end of its creation.

We must, therefore, forsake our multifarious activity, to re-enter the simplicity and unity of God, in Whose image we were originally formed. “The Spirit is one and manifold” (Wisdom vii. 22), and His unity doth not preclude His multiplicity. We enter into His unity when we are united unto His Spirit, and have one and the same Spirit with Him; and we are multiplied in respect to the outward execution of His will, without any departure from our state of union: so that when we are wholly moved by the Divine Spirit, which is infinitely active, our activity must, indeed, differ widely in its energy and degree from that which is merely our own.

We must yield ourselves to the guidance of “Wisdom, which is more moving than any motion” (Wisdom vii. 24); and by abiding in dependence on its action, our activity will be truly efficient. “All things were made by the Word, and without him was not anything made, that was made” (John i. 3). God originally formed us in His own likeness; and He now informeth us with the Spirit of His Word, that “Breath of Life” (Gen. ii. 7), which was inbreathed at our creation, in the participation whereof the Image of God consisted; and this life is a Life of Unity, simple, pure, intimate, and always fruitful. The Devil having broken and deformed the Divine Image in the soul, the agency of the same Word, whose Spirit was inbreathed at our creation, is absolutely necessary for its renovation; and it can only be renewed by our being passive under Him who is to renew it: but who can restore the Image of God within us in its primeval form, save He who is the Essential Image of the Father.

Our activity should, therefore, consist in endeavoring to acquire and maintain such a state as may be most susceptible of Divine impressions, most flexile to all the operations of the Eternal Word. Whilst a tablet is unsteady, the painter is unable to delineate a true copy: so every act of our own selfish and proper spirit is productive of false and erroneous lineaments; it interrupts the work, and defeats the design of this adorable Painter; we must then remain in peace and move only when He moves us. “Jesus Christ hath the Life, in himself” (John v. 26), and He should be the life of every living thing.

As all action is estimable only in proportion to the dignity of the efficient principle, this action is incontestably more noble than any other. Actions produced by a Divine principle, are Divine; but creaturely actions, however good they appear, are only human, or at best virtuous, even when accompanied by Grace. Jesus Christ saith, He hath the Life in Himself. All other beings have only a borrowed life; but the Word hath the Life in Himself, and being communicative of His nature He desireth to communicate it to man. We should, therefore, make room for the influx of this Life, which can only be done by the ejection of the Adamical life, the suppression of the activity of self. This is agreeable to the assertion of S. Paul: “If any man be in Christ he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new!” (2 Cor. v. 17), but this state can be accomplished only by dying to ourselves and to all our own activity, that the activity of God may be substituted in its place.

Instead, therefore, of prohibiting activity, we enjoin it; but in absolute dependence on the Spirit of God, that His activity may take place of our own. This can only be effected by the concurrence of the creature; and this concurrence can only be yielded by moderating and restraining our own activity, that the activity of God may gradually gain the ascendancy, and finally absorb all that is ours as distinguishable from it.

Jesus Christ hath exemplified this in the Gospel: Martha did what was right; but because she did it in her own spirit Christ rebuked her. The spirit of man is restless and turbulent; for which reason it does little, though it would appear to do much. “Martha,” saith Christ, “thou art careful and troubled about many things, but one thing is needful; and Mary hath chosen that good part which shall not be taken away from her” (Luke x. 41, 42). And what was it that Mary had chosen? Repose, tranquillity, and peace. She apparently ceased to act, that the Spirit of Christ might act in her; she ceased to live, that Christ might be her life.

This shows us how necessary it is to renounce ourselves and all our own activity, to follow Jesus Christ; and we cannot follow Him without being animated with His Spirit. Now that His Spirit may gain admission in us it is necessary that our own proper spirit should be first expelled: “He that is joined unto the Lord,” saith S. Paul, “is one spirit with him” (1 Cor. vi. 17); and David said, “It was good for him to draw near unto the Lord, and to put his trust in him” (Ps. lxxiii. 28). This drawing near unto God, is the beginning of Union.

Divine Union has its commencement, its progression, and its consummation. It is first an inclination and tendency towards God: when the soul is introverted in the manner before described, it gets within the influence of the central attraction, and acquires an eager desire after Union: on a nearer approach unto God, it adheres to Him; and growing stronger and stronger in its adhesion, it finally becomes one; that is, “One Spirit with Him:” and it is thus that the spirit which had wandered and strayed from God, returns again to its proper source.

Into this process, which is the Divine motion, and the Spirit of Jesus Christ, we must necessarily enter. S. Paul saith, “If any man hath not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his” (Rom. viii. 9): therefore, to be Christ’s, we must be filled with His Spirit, and to be filled with His Spirit we must be emptied of our own. The Apostle, in the same passage, proves the necessity of this Divine influence or motion: “As many” saith he, “as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Rom. viii. 14).

The Spirit of Divine Filiation is then the Spirit of Divine action or motion: he, therefore, adds, “Ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of Adoption, whereby we, cry, Abba, Father.”

This Spirit is no other than the Spirit of Christ, through which we participate in His Filiation; “And this Spirit beareth witness with our Spirit, that we are the children of God” (Rom. viii. 16). When the soul yields itself to the influence and motions of this Blessed Spirit, it feels the testimony of its Divine Filiation; and it feels also, with superadded joy, that it hath received not the Spirit of bondage, but of Liberty, even the liberty of the children of God. It then finds that it acts freely and sweetly, though with vigour and infallibility.

The Spirit of Divine action is so necessary in all things, that S. Paul, in the same passage, foundeth that necessity on our ignorance with respect to what we pray for: “The Spirit,” saith he, “also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought; but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us, with groanings which cannot be uttered.” This is positive; if we know not what we stand in need of, nor pray, as we ought to do, for those things which are necessary; and if the Spirit which is in us, and to which we resign ourselves, asks and intercedes for us; should we not give unlimited freedom to its action, to its ineffable groanings in our behalf?

This Spirit is the Spirit of the Word which is always heard, as He saith Himself: “I know that thou hearest me always” (John xi. 42); and if we freely admit this Spirit to pray and intercede in us, we also shall be always heard. The reason of this is given us by the same Apostle, that skilful Mystic, and Master of the Internal life, where he adds, “He that searcheth the heart, knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit; because he maketh intercession for the saints, according to the will of God” (Rom. viii. 27). That is to say, the Spirit demandeth only that which is conformable to the will of God; and the will of God is, that we should be saved: that we should become perfect: He, therefore, intercedeth for that which is necessary for so great an end.

Why should we then burden ourselves with superfluous cares, and fatigue and weary ourselves in the multiplicity of our ways, without ever saying, “Let us rest in peace?” God Himself inviteth us to cast our cares, our anxieties, upon Him; and He complains in Isaiah, with ineffable goodness, that the soul had expended its powers and its treasures on a thousand external objects, and mistook its path to happiness, which was attainable by means much more facile: “Wherefore,” saith God, “do you spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? Hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness” (Isa. lv. 2).

Did we but know the blessedness of thus hearkening unto God, and how greatly the soul is strengthened and invigorated thereby, “All flesh would surely be silent before the Lord” (Zech. ii. 13); all would cease and be still, as soon as He appears. But to engage us farther in a boundless resignation, God assures us, by the same Prophet, that we should fear nothing in this abandonment, because He takes a care of us, surpassing the highest tenderness of which we can form an idea: “Can a woman” saith He, “forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, she may forget; yet will I not forget thee” (Isa. xlix. 15). O blessed assurance, pregnant with consolation! Who, after this, shall be fearful of
resigning themselves wholly to the dispensations and guidance of their God?

Posts in this series:
Madame Guyon – A Spiritual Reading
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Preface
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 1
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 2
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 3
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 4
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 5
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 6
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 7
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 8
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 9
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 10
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 11
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 12
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 13
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 14
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 15
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 16
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 17
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 18
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 19
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 20

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Too many blogs

If the previous post seemed a little out of context, it was!

I’ve written elsewhere about having too many blogs, and one result is that the post on Hiding Christ from New Agers was posted here instead of where it was intended, at Mal’s Meanderings.

But, hey, let’s spread the joy around!

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Hiding Christ from New Agers

This morning I was reading “My Prayer Journal” in the Victorian Baptist Witness. Part of the diary for Wednesday and Thursday went as follows:

Something interesting happened today. Saw Greg put ‘religion’ and ‘new age’
books together (in the ‘new age’ section). He even put the Bibles there! It
really upset me and I was surprised at the intensity of my feelings. …

Well I spoke to Greg and thank you God, he was really cool about it. It
actually opened up some discussion about my faith. And it felt so natural
talking about it. … he was relieved that I could advise him on what should go
in the ‘religion’ section and what should go in the ‘new age’ section (he didn’t
mind at all when I said they were very different).

There is so much here that I could comment on – the assumed difference between religion and New Age, for example. But considering that this was an issue of the Witness devoted to exploring being a Christian in a secular workplace, I want to look at where the books should have been placed.

Being married to a librarian myself I can understand the desire to have things in the right place. However, given that New Age would definitely fit the criteria for a religion I expect they wouldn’t be far apart. It raises two questions for me. Why would we prefer to put Christian books in a place a New Ager might never look? And why put them where a Christian will never encounter the New Age books?

If we are truly interested in ministry in the marketplace, then we must not hide Jesus from those in the market, while at the same time we need to learn how those in the market think if we are to expect to impact their lives.

The depth of the secular/sacred divide for the person writing the diary might be guaged from the intensity of their feelings when the Christian and New Age books were innocently placed side by side. Should we be offended? Can’t Jesus take care of himself? Where would he be found – hanging around the church or out in the market?

Lots of questions. I’d like to hear some of your answers.

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A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 20

Lectio Divina
Of Self-Annihilation

Supplication and sacrifice are comprehended in prayer, which, according to S. John, is “an incense, the smoke whereof ascendeth unto God;” therefore it is said in the Apocalypse that “unto the Angel was given much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all Saints” (Chap. viii. 3).

Prayer is the effusion of the heart in the Presence of God: “I have poured out my soul before God” saith the mother of Samuel. (1 Sam. i. 15) The prayer of the wise men at the feet of Christ in the stable of Bethlehem, was signified by the incense they offered: for prayer being the energy and fire of love, melting, dissolving, and sublimating the soul, and causing it to ascend unto God; therefore, in proportion as the soul is melted and dissolved, in like proportion do odours issue from it; and these odours proceed from the intense fire of love within.

This is illustrated in the Canticles (i. 11) where the spouse saith, “While the King sitteth on his couch, my spikenard sendeth forth the smell thereof.” The couch is the ground or centre of the soul; and when God is there, and we know how to dwell with Him, and abide in His Presence, the sacred power and influence thereof gradually dissolves the obduration of the soul, and, as it melteth, odours issue forth: hence it is, that the Beloved saith of His spouse, in seeing her soul melt when He spake, “Who is this that cometh out of the wilderness, like pillars of smoke perfumed with myrrh and frankincense?” ( Cant. v. 6 – and iii. 6).

Thus doth the soul ascend unto God, by giving up self to the destroying and annihilating power of Divine Love: this, indeed, is a most essential and necessary sacrifice in the Christian religion, and that alone by which we pay true homage to the sovereignty of God; as it is written, “The power of the Lord is great, and he is honoured only by the humble” (Eccles. iii. 20). By the destruction of the existence of self within us, we truly acknowledge the supreme existence of our God; for unless we cease to exist in self, the Spirit of the Eternal Word cannot exist in us: now it is by the giving up of our own life, that we give place for His coming; and “in dying to ourselves, He liveth and abideth in us.”

We should, indeed, surrender our whole being unto Christ Jesus: and cease to live any longer in ourselves, that He may become our life; “that being dead, our life may be hid with Christ in God” (Col. iii. 3). “Pass ye into me,” saith God, “all ye who earnestly seek after me” (Eccles. xxiv. 16). But how is it we pass into God? We leave and forsake ourselves, that we may be lost in Him; and this can be effected only by annihilation; which being the true prayer of adoration, renders unto God alone, all “Blessing, honour, glory and power, for ever and ever” (Rev. v. 13).

This is the prayer of truth; “It is worshipping God in spirit and in truth” (John iv. 23). “In spirit,” because we enter into the purity of that Spirit which prayeth within us, and are drawn forth and freed from our own carnal and corrupt manner of praying; “In truth” because we are thereby placed in the great Truth of the All of God, and the Nothing of the creature.

There are but these two truths, the All, and the Nothing; everything else is falsehood. We can pay due honour to the All of God, only in our own annihilation, which is no sooner accomplished, than He, who never suffers a void in nature, instantly fills us with Himself.

Did we but know the virtue and the blessings which the soul derives from this prayer, we should willingly be employed therein without ceasing. “It is the pearl of great price: it is the hidden treasure” (Matt. xiii. 44, 45), which, whoever findeth, selleth freely all that he hath to purchase it: “It is the well of living water, which springeth up unto everlasting life”: It is the adoration of God “in spirit and in truth” (John iv. 14-23), and it is the full performance of the purest evangelical precepts.

Jesus Christ assureth us, that the “Kingdom of God is within us” (Luke xvii. 21), and this is true in two senses: First, when God becometh so fully the Master and Lord in us, that nothing resisteth His dominion; then is our interior His kingdom: And again, when we possess God, who is the Supreme Good, we possess His kingdom also, wherein there is fullness of joy, and where we attain the end of our creation: thus it is said, “to serve God, is to reign.” The end of our creation, indeed, is to enjoy our God, even in this life; but alas! how few there are who think of this seriously.

Posts in this series:
Madame Guyon – A Spiritual Reading
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Preface
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 1
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 2
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 3
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 4
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 5
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 6
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 7
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 8
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 9
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 10
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 11
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 12
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 13
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 14
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 15
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 16
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 17
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 18
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 19

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A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 19

Lectio Divina
Of Distractions and Temptations

A direct contest and struggle with distractions and temptations rather serves to augment them, and withdraws the soul from that adherence to God, which should ever be its principal occupation. The surest and safest method for conquest is simply to turn away from the evil and draw yet nearer and closer to our God. A little child, on perceiving a monster, does not wait to fight with it, and will scarcely turn its eyes towards it, but quickly shrinks into the bosom of its mother, in total confidence of safety; so likewise should the soul turn from the dangers of temptation to God. “God is in the midst of her,” saith the Psalmist, “she shall not be moved; God shall help her, and that right early” (Psal. xlvi. 5).

If we do otherwise, and in our weakness attempt to attack our enemies, we shall frequently feel ourselves wounded, if not totally defeated; but, by casting ourselves into the simple Presence of God, we shall find instant supplies of strength for our support. This was the succour sought for by David: “I have set,” saith he, “the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope” (Psal. xvi. 8, 9). And it is said in Exodus, “The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.”

Posts in this series:
Madame Guyon – A Spiritual Reading
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Preface
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 1
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 2
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 3
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 4
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 5
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 6
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 7
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 8
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 9
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 10
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 11
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 12
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 13
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 14
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 15
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 16
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 17
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 18

Posted in Books, God, Good and Evil, Lectio Divina, Mysticism, Mystics, Prayer, Soul, Spiritual Practices | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 18

Lectio Divina
Of Defects or Infirmities

Should we either wander among externals, or sink into dissipation, or commit a fault, we must instantly turn inwards; for having departed thereby from our God, we should as soon as possible return again unto Him, and suffer in His presence whatever sensations He is pleased to impress. On the commission of a fault it is of great importance to guard against vexation and disquietude, which springs from a secret root of pride and a love of our own excellence; we are hurt by feeling what we are; and if we discourage ourselves or despond, we are the more enfeebled; and from our reflections on the fault a chagrin arises, which is often worse than the fault itself.

The truly humble soul is not surprised at defects or failings; and the more miserable and wretched it beholds itself, the more doth it abandon itself unto God, and press for a nearer and more intimate alliance with Him, that it may avail itself of His eternal strength. We should the rather be induced to act thus, as God Himself hath said, “I will make thee understand what thou oughtest to do; I will teach thee the way by which thou shouldst go; and I will have mine eye continually upon thee for a guide” (Psal. xxxii. 8, vulg.).

Posts in this series:
Madame Guyon – A Spiritual Reading
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Preface
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 1
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 2
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 3
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 4
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 5
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 6
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 7
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 8
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 9
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 10
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 11
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 12
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 13
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 14
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 15
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 16
Madame Guyon – A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – Chapter 17

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