Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A Treasure found on Wikisource--Thanks be to God for the internet

Spiritual Maxims
by Jeanne Marie Bouvier de la Motte Guyon

Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk and drawn from the breasts.--Isaiah 28:9


* 1. To rob God of nothing; to refuse Him nothing; to require of Him nothing; this is great perfection.[1]

* 2. In the commencement of the spiritual life, our hardest task is to bear with our neighbor; in its progress, with ourselves, and in its end, with God.

* 3. He that regards self only with horror, is beginning to be the delight of God.

* 4. The more we learn what humility is, the less we discover of it in ourselves.

* 5. When we suffer aridity and desolation with equanimity, we testify our love to God; but when He visits us with the sweetness of his presence, He testifies his love to us.

* 6. He that bears the privations of the gifts of God and the esteem of men, with an even soul, knows how to enjoy his Supreme Good beyond all time and above all means.

* 7. Let no one ask a stronger mark of an excellent love to God, than that we are insensible to our own reputation.

* 8. Would you exert all your powers to attain Divine Union? Use all your strength for the destruction of self.

* 9. Be so much the enemy of self as you desire to be the friend of God.

* 10. How are we directed in the law to love ourselves? In God with the same love that we bear to God; because as our true selves are in Him, our love must be there also.

* 11. It is a rare gift to discover an indescribable something, which is above grace and nature; which is not God, but which suffers no intermediate between God and us. It is a pure and unmixed emanation of a created being who is immediately connected with the Uncreated Original, from whom he proceeds. It is a union of essence with essence, in which nothing that is neither can act the part of an intermediate.

* 12. The ray of the creature is derived from the Sun of the Divinity; it cannot, however, be separated from it; and if its dependence upon its divine principle is essential, its union is not less so. O wonder! The creature which can only be by the power of God, cannot exist without Him, and the root of its being, that nothing can come between or cause the slightest separation. This is the common condition of all creatures; but it is only perceived by those whose purified faculties can trace the grandeur of their centre, and whose interior, freed from the defilement that covered it, begins to return to its origin.

* 13. Faith and the cross are inseparable: the cross is the shrine of faith, and faith is the light of the cross.

* 14. It is only by the death of self that the soul can enter into Divine Truth, and understand in part what is the light that shineth in darkness.

* 15. The more the darkness of self-knowledge deepens about us, the more does the divine truth shine in the midst.

* 16. Nothing less than a divine operation can empty us of the creature and of self, for whatever is natural tends constantly to fill us with the creature, and occupy us with ourselves. This emptiness without anything distinct, is, then, an excellent sign, though it exist surrounded by the deepest and, I may say, the most importunate temptations.

* 17. God causes us to promise in time of peace what He exacts from us in time of war; He enables us to make our abandonments in joy, but He requires the fulfilment of them in the midst of much bitterness. It is well for thee, O Love! to exercise thy rights; suffer as we may, we will not return to self, or if we suffer because we have done so, the remedy for the evil is to devote ourselves afresh with an enlarged abandonment. Strange malady, the cure of which is only to be found in a worse! O Lord, cause me to do whatever Thou wilt, provided I do only thy will?[2]

* 18. How hidden is the theology of Love! O Love, Thou sulliest to excess what Thou wouldst raise to the heights of purity! Thou profanest thine own sanctuary; there is not left one stone upon another that is not cast into the dirt. And what shall be the end? Thou knowest it from the beginning; it is worthy of so great a Workman that his work should be hidden, and that while He seems to destroy, He should accomplish it the most effectually.

* 19. Ah Lord! who seest the secrets of the heart, Thou knowest if I yet expect anything from myself, or if there be anything which I would refuse to Thee!

* 20. How rare is it to behold a soul in an absolute abandonment of selfish interests, that it may devote itself to the interests of God!

* 21. The creature would willingly cease to be creature if it could become God; but where shall we find one willing that God should resume everything He has bestowed without receiving anything in return? I say everything, and everything without reserve, even to our own righteousness, which is dearer to man than his existence, and to our rest, by which we enjoy self and the gifts of God in self, and in which we place our happiness, without knowing it. Where shall we find an abandonment that is as comprehensive as the will of God, not only when accompanied by delights, illumination, and feeling, but under all circumstances and in fact? O it is a fruit of Paradise that can scarce be found upon the earth!

* 22. God is infinitely more honored by the sacrifices of death than by those of life; by the latter we honor Him as a great Sovereign, but by the former, as God, losing all things for his glory. This is the reason why Jesus Christ made many more sacrifices of death than of life; and I suspect no one will gain all without having lost all.

* 23. Reason should not undertake to comprehend the last destructions; they are ordained expressly to destroy our reason.

* 24. God has means more efficient, more conducive to his own glory, and more edifying for souls, but they are less sanctifying. These great and dazzling gifts are very gratifying to nature, even when it seems to give way beneath their weight, and thus nourish its secret life; but distresses, continual dyings, and unprofitableness for any good, crucify the most vital parts of the soul, which are those which prevent the coming of the kingdom of God.

* 25. In our solemn feasts, some strive to do something for Thee, O my God! and others, that Thou mayest do something for them; but neither of these is permitted to us. Love forbids the one and cannot suffer the other.

* 26. It is harder to die to our virtues than to our vices; but the one is just as necessary as the other for perfect union. Our attachments are the stronger as they are more spiritual.


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