Such a believer never walks by his intellect. He is led in the inward way. He is destined to pursue blindly an unknown course which, though it seems perfectly natural to him, requires him to sense his way along by the intuitive life that dwells deep within him and draws him forward.
In spite of the seeming uncertainty of his way, this simple and trusting believer makes progress in the Spirit with far more certainty than the intellectual believer! As contradictory as it seems, intellectual illuminations are subject to misleadings; yes, far more severe than those of the inward way.
The believer who is abandoned into that unknown course is being guided by a supreme will that conducts him wherever God desires. This believer follows a path prescribed for him by a touch of God from deep within his spirit. He is pursuing a way of faith and absolute abandonment and has neither liberty nor desire for any other path.
You might ask: If a person is urged on by no strong guidance, but walks blindly, is such a person really a follower of God? My answer is yes. That person does God's will even more truly than the one filled with sight.
He may not have the satisfaction of knowing he is doing the will of God; nonetheless, the Lord's will is engraved in indelible letters on that believer's innermost parts. He goes steadily under the influence of God's touch and the influence of his spirit; he progresses from one degree to another by faith.
True, it is a faith that is manifested more at some times than it is at other times, for he alternates between a sense of dryness and a sense of the presence of God. Nonetheless, his enjoyment of the Lord becomes continually deeper.
Paradoxically, as the enjoyment of the Lord deepens, it also becomes less perceptible. As his enjoyment of the Lord becomes less perceptible, his sense of the Lord becomes more inward, more delicate than ever before.
For a Christian such as this, even in the midst of dryness he is delighted. His delight is not coming by distinct or intellectual illumination, though. His soul is not aware of the light he is receiving, but it receives all the benefits of that light!
The believer finds himself more acquainted with the truth that is implanted in his inmost being. This acquaintance causes everything in him to yield to the will of God.
As a result, God's will gradually grows more familiar to him. Eventually, he is more able, in a perceptible way, to penetrate a thousand mysteries—mysteries that he never could have discovered by light of reason or knowledge! He is gradually preparing, without being aware of it, for even greater levels of progress that lie out there before him.
Madame Jeanne Guyon (1648-1717) was a French mystic who became well-known during the 17th century. She was a proponent of Quietism, which placed less emphasis on religious discipline than on total surrender to God. Guyon became embroiled in a controversy between the two most famous clergymen in France's history—Fenelon, whose spiritual life she greatly influenced—and Bossuet. This controversy over her teachings led to her disgrace and imprisonment. Nevertheless, her writings have influenced many religious groups through the centuries, including the Methodists and the Quakers, and they continue to impact those who desire a deeper relationship with God.
Adapted from Union With God by Madame Jeanne Guyon, copyright © 1981. Published by The SeedSowers. Used by permission.
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