Letter 1 by Madame Jeanne Guyon

“O my Divine Love, says she, the Desire which I had to please Thee, the Tears which I shed, the great Pains and Labours I underwent, and the little Fruit I reap’d from them, mov’d Thee with Compassion. Thou gavest me in an Instant, through Thy Grace and Goodness alone, what I could never have given my self by all my Efforts and Endeavours. The Thing happen’d as follows: God permitted a religious Man, who was just come out of a five Years Solitude, to pass by my Father’s Habitation, and make him a Visit. My Father knowing the religious Concern I was under, advised me to make my Condition known to him; which I had no sooner done, signifying the Difficulties I had about Prayer, but he presently reply’d, ‘Tis Madam, because you seek without what you have within, accustom your self to seek God in your Heart, and there you will find Him,’ When you spoke these Words, he left me; but they were like the Stroke of a Dart, which pierc’d my Heart asunder. They brought to my heart what I had sought for so many Years, or rather they help’d me to discover what was there, but for want of knowing it, I had not enjoy’d it. O my God, Thou wert in my Heart, and requirdst nothing but turning of my Mind inward to Thee to make me feel Thy Presence! O infinite Goodness! Thou wert so near, and I ran hither and thither to seek Thee, but found Thee not. My Life was a Burden, though my Happiness was within me. I was poor in the midst of Riches, and starving with Hunger near a Table spread with Dainties, and a continual Feast. O BEAUTY, ancient and new,why did I know Thee so late? Alas! I sought Thee where Thou wert not, and did not seek Thee where Thou wert. ‘Twas for want of understanding these Words of the Gospel, ‘The Kingdom of God cometh not with Observation; neither shall they say, Lo here, or Lo there, for behold the Kingdom of God is within you.’ This is now experienced; for then Thou becamest my King, and my Heart was Thy Kingdom, where Thou reignedst as Sovereign, and didst what Thy Will was to have done.”

– Madame Guyon when she was about 20 years old.

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