EDITOR’S PREFACE ABOUT MADAME GUYON
The Providence of God among the Churches seems to call to the present time for further light upon the subject of a higher experience than that usually attained by the members of our Christian societies. Among the teachers who have been from time to time anointed for this work, Fenelon and Madame Guyon are justly held in high estimation. While some, perhaps, have had a more interior experience, few, if any, have so joined to the deepest devotion, a power of spiritual analysis that eminently fitted them for the office of instructors.
The extracts from Fenelon here given under the title of “Christian Counsel” have been translated from the “Avis Chretiens” contained in the fourth volume of the Paris edition of his works in 10 vols. 12 mo, 1810.
The Spiritual Letters are from the same source.
The translation of the “Method of Prayer” is that which commonly passes under the name of Thomas Digby Brooke. It has been carefully compared and corrected by the Editions of the “Opuscules” published at Cologne 1704, and Paris 1790. The “Concise View” and “Spiritual Maxims” which follow, have been translated from the Paris edition of 1790.
It was at first proposed to have prefixed to the selections an account of the lives of the authors, but the design was subsequently abandoned. The very unsatisfactory character of a mere sketch, the space that would be demanded by anything like a fitting biography, and the very accessible form in which the materials have been lately placed by Professor Upham, are some of the reasons that contributed to the change.
As this little work is intended to be simply devotional, matter of a purely sectarian or controversial character has been as far as possible omitted.
And now, beloved reader, one word in conclusion, from the love of God to you. God has led you, in his Providence, to open this book that He may do you good. If through his infinite mercy you have had a personal experience of the matters herein written, your heart will be filled with thanksgiving and praise as you read. What hath God wrought! If not, you will find many things strange, and it would not be surprising if you should be ready to pronounce some untrue. But ah! beware of being wise in your own conceit! The Spirit of God that searcheth the deep things of God, alone can decide.
Do not distrust the reports of these spies whom God has sent before you into the Promised Land. It is a land flowing with milk and honey; true, the children of Anak are there, in whose sight we are but as grasshoppers, but they are bread for us. The Lord God, He it is that shall fight for us, and He will surely bring us into that exceeding good land.
The natural man receiveth not the things of God, for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. If, then, you have not experienced the things that follow, think it not strange that they should seem foolish and false; in God’s own time they shall be perceived, if you follow on to know.
If you will be advised by one who knows nothing, and who is least in the household of faith, you will deny nothing – reject nothing – despise nothing, lest haply you be found fighting against God: you will receive nothing but what is accompanied by the Amen of the Spirit of God in your heart; all else shall be as the idle wind. Reading thus, in absolute dependence, not upon man’s wisdom or teaching, but upon the utterances of the blessed Spirit within, you shall infallibly be guided into all Truth. Such is the promise of Him who cannot lie. And may His blessing rest upon you!
EDITOR’S PREFACE ABOUT MADAME GUYON 1