BETH CHESED NEWSLETTER #267 – 2001.05.19
FROM MADAME GUYON – her Autobiography, pp. 108-109. My husband enjoying some intermission of his almost continual ailments, had a mind to go to Orleans, and then into Touraine. In this journey my vanity made its last blaze. I received abundance of visits and applauses. But how clearly did I see the folly of men who are so taken with vain beauty! I disliked the disposition, yet not that which caused it, though I sometimes ardently desired to be delivered from it. The continual combat of nature and grace cost me no small affliction. Nature was pleased with public applause; grace made me dread it. What augmented the temptation was that they esteemed in me virtue, joined with youth and beauty. They did not know that all the virtue is only in God, and His protection, and all the weakness in myself.
I went in search of confessors, to accuse myself of my failing, and to bewail my backslidings. They were utterly insensible of my pain. They esteemed what God condemned. They treated as a virtue what to me appeared detestable in His sight. Far from measuring my faults by His graces, they only considered what I was, in comparison of what I might have been. Hence, instead of blaming me, they only flattered my pride. They justified me in what incurred His rebuke, or only treated as a slight fault what in me was highly displeasing to Him, from whom I had received such signal mercies.
The heinousness of sins is not to be measured singly by their nature, but also by the state of the person who commits them. The least unfaithfulness in a spouse is more injurious to her husband, than far greater ones in his domestics. I told them all the trouble I had been under for not having entirely covered my neck. It was covered much more than was covered by other women of my age. They assured me that I was very modestly dressed. As my husband liked my dress there could be nothing amiss in it. My inward Director (the Spirit of Christ) taught me quite the contrary. I had not courage enough to follow Him, and to dress myself differently from others, at my age. My vanity furnished me with pretences seemingly just for following fashions. If pastors knew what hurt they do in humoring female vanity, they would be more severe against it! Had I found but one person honest enough to deal plainly with me, I should not have gone on. But my vanity, siding with the declared opinion of all others, induced me to think them right, and my own scruples mere fancy.
Madame Guyon, from the 17thCentury.
RESPONSE – Moody Press reprinted in the mid 20th Century the complete autobiography of Madame Guyon. They felt that she being dead yet speaks, and that many would receive increasing help from her writings. Wealthy parents brought her up, and at a very young age this extremely beautiful woman married and soon bore 3 children. A very pious desire was in her from an early age, yet at the same time she had a desire to exploit her beauty and riches. She expressed her frustration to a Franciscan monk, who gave her the following answer:
“It is, Madame, because you seek without what you have within. Accustom yourself to seek God in your heart, and you will there find Him.”
This word of counsel was the turning point in the life of Madame Guyon. The change did not come easily, but through many interior and exterior crosses, the spirit of Christ within her lifted her to such a dimension in God, that the godly Archbishop Fenelon came and asked her to mentor him, so that he too could enter into this exalted interior life of love, victory and overcoming.. I sense that as I write these words, there are many of our readers who have this same desire for God’s best on their behalf. You too will find if you seek, that God in His transcendence is not the answer, but God in His Immanence in your heart. The Lord of glory who sits on the throne of your heart (though He also sits on the Throne of the universe) will lead you, as His loved one in the spirit of the Song of Solomon.
Come then, join with me, and let us together seek the Beloved of our soul from within, and our Father in Heaven will hear our cry, and through His Son within lead us into green pastures and beside the still waters. What if it is 350 years ago since Madame Guyon discovered these truths? Truth is eternal, and not bound by time. But what was good for her day is just as relevant for us today. France was most ungodly at the time of her life – and yet see this beautiful flower that God found, cultivated and brought to such great spiritual beauty! He who is no respecter of persons will do the same for you and me. He will teach us too the modesty of dress, especially for the fairer sex.
On the next page I post a hymn put out by “The Stream Publishers.” Witness Lee and John Ingalls are the compilers and composers. This is an offshoot of Watchman Nee. The words of this hymn reflect accurately the heart of such saints as Madame Guyon, Rees Howells, Mother Basilea Schlink, George Muller, Amy Carmichael, Hudson Taylor, St. John of the Cross, and many others. All these passed into the Holy of Holies in this life and entered into intimate union and communion with the Beloved of their souls. They understood the secret of the interior life of Christ, with Him on the Throne of their hearts. They likewise knew the Father through the Son on the Throne of the Universe.
The numbers under verse one reflect the sol-fah system of singing used by over 2 billion people in Asia. The time and Clef markings are somewhat self-explanatory.
LORD IN THY PRESENCE – E flat, 4/4, 10.10.10.10 – Riher
3- 2 3 1-- 1 2 3 4 5 3---
That in the / in- most / I to Thee may / come; /
5- 4 5 3- 2- 1 1 1 1 7---
I would not / in my / own way pray to / thee, /
3- 2 7 1- 5- 6 8 7= 4 6- 5-
But let thy / prayer in me my / prayer be- /come. /
6- 4 3 3 5 4 6 1- 2- 1---
It seems Thou art in heaven hearing me,
But right within my spirit Thou dost dwell;
It seems that I am praying unto Thee,
But really from Thyself the prayers do well.
When, Lord, no words my burden can express,
My spirit with Thy Spirit deeply groans;
Not verbally I then my plea address,
But Thou dost pray within with words unknown.
I would inhale Thee, Lord, e’en as I breathe,
And eat and drink Thee as my life supply.
A deeper fellowship with Thee bequeath
That Thou express Thyself through me thereby.
Here in this fellowship Thy light doth shine,
Thy precious blood doth cleanse and make me clean;
May I not only, Lord, Thy light enshrine,
But may Thou be expressed and clearly seen.
Thy oil anoints me here in every way,
Anointing Thee within unceasingly;
I more decrease, Thou more increase each day,
Thus full expression Thou shalt have through me.
Myself I open that Thou may flow in;
Op’ning myself to others, Lord, flow out;
By such a stream, the fellowship within,
Thou, Lord, expressed will be my life throughout.
WHY DO YOU TURN AWAY?
Three years ago we reported on the award and honor that our grandson James Alexander Watt received at the age of 11 at the Community-Wide Commemoration of the Shoah, held at the Mercer Island Holocaust Memorial and Herzl Ner-Tamid Conservative Congregation. Here is his first place contribution from among 200 Grade 5 and 6 contestants in the state of Washington.
WHY DO YOU TURN AWAY?
Where is your courage to care? Disobey Hitler’s Laws
Don’t you know it’s wrong? Sharing attic rooms
Aren’t you aware? Refusing to join the cause.
Why do you turn away?
From coming to my aid? I don’t understand
Do you hate my religion? Why I am hated –
Why are you afraid? Why I am banned.
Why do you turn away?
Or my wavy brown hair? Engraved in blue?
Why single me out? Is it the star that
It doesn’t seem fair I wear in plain view?
Why do you turn away?
Money? Or fame? And why do you obey?
Do you just need someone Is it your love of Germany?
That you can blame? That makes me a throwaway?
Why do you turn away?
Do you believe Hitler’s big lie? Where is your courage to care?
Why do you go along with it? Don’t you know it’s wrong?
Why is there no outcry? Aren’t you aware?
Why do you turn away? PLEASE DON’T TURN AWAY!
(James put himself in the shoes of a ten-year-old Jewish boy in Germany to write this poem. The judges immediately set his contribution aside, saying: “This is without argument number one. Now let us select the second and third contribution.” This poem has been read in Jewish synagogues, and by many Jewish people both in America and in Israel. May God still use it to erase hatred for both Jews and all other peoples.)