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AN ENGLISH NUN IN EXILE TRANSLATES

THE SPIRITUAL LETTERS OF

ARCHBISHOP FENELON TO MADAME GUYON

BIBLIOTHQUE MAZARINE, MS 1202, IIA
 

Dame Catherine Gascoigne, Cambrai's  Abbess, in 1652
 

his translation was made by an English nun in exile in Paris in 1724 of the Spiritual Letters of the Archbishop of Cambray, Franois de Salignac de La Mothe-Fnelon (1651-1713), before any version of them had appeared in print in English. He would have been the bishop having oversight of the diocese in which their mother house lay. It seems from the hand of this manuscript to have been written by Sister Mary Benedicte Dally, Prioress of Our Lady of Good Hope in Paris from 1734-38, who had been professed before August 1722, and who had also written out a translation of Blosius, dated at the end, August 3rd, 1718.

                                                                    Archbishop Fnelon of Cambrai

 
  spirituall letters of B. Cam:
                                               23

Christian advices for the ex-
-teriour, & interiour conduct
  I doe not wonder at that dis-
-gust you feell for so many things
contrary to god, tis the naturall
effect of the change of your
heart, you would love a cert-
-ain calme, where you might
employ yr self freely wth all, t
moves you, & deliver your self
from all that which is capable
of opening your wounds afresh
but s is not that wch god wills:
tis his pleasure that, that wch
too much moved & occupied you
heretofore should now turn it
self into importunity, and serve

24       Spirit: letters

for your penance, bear then in
peace this cross, for the expia-
-tion of your sins, & expect till
god disentangles you, he will doe
it, in his own time, & not in yrs
in the interim reserve to your
self the hours you need, to think
of God, & of your self in relation
to him, you must read, pray, be
diffident in your inclinations, &
customs, reflect that you cary
the gift of god, in an earthen ve-
-sel, and above all nourish your
self interiourly with the love of
god.
Altho we have lived far from
him, we ought not to be afraid
 
 

         Bish: Cambray           25

to aproach him with a familiar
love, speak to him in your pra-
-yer of all your miseries, all yr
wants, all your pains, and even
of the disgust you may feel, for
& in his service, you canot speak
to him, too freely nor with too
much confidence, he loves the
simple & e litle ones, tis with
them he entertains himself, if
you are of their number, layve
aside your wit, & all your high
thoughts, open your heart to him
& tell him all, affter having spoke
to him, hearken a litle to him,
put yourself in such a prepara-
tion of heart that he may imprint
 


26         Spiritual Letters

vertues in you, as he shall please:
let all be silent in you to hear -
him; this silence of creatures
without, & of grosse pasions, &
human thoughts, within, is -
essentiall, to hear that voice,
wch calls the soull, to dye to her
self, and to adore god in spirit
& verity.
You have great helps in the know-
ledges you have aquired. You hve
read many good books you know
the true foundations of Religion
& and the weakness of all that is oposed
against it, but all these means
wch guide you to god, for the beg-
 
 

         Spirit Let: B.C.            27

-inings, would stop you afterw-
-ards, if you should stick too much
to your lights. the best & last
use of our sence, is to mistrust it
to renounce to it, & submitt it to
the spirit of god, by a simple faith
you must become a little child,
there is a litleness far above all
grandour, happy those w know
it, tis litle to reason, to compare
to foresee & conclude, one must
love the only true, the only good,
& abide in him by a fix'd will, the
sence & understanding walks ab-
-out, the will is that which ought
never to vary.

28      Spirituall letters

there is not question of doing
many dificult things, perform e
least & the most comon, with a
heart turn'd towards god, and as a
man who goes to the only end of
his creation, you will doe all t
others doe except sin. you will
be a good freind, civill, officious,
complaisant, gay at hours and
in such company, as becomes a true
christian. you will be sober at
table, & sober every where elce,
sober in spending, sober in speak-
-ing, sober in judging, sober in div-
-version, even sober in being wise, and
foreseing, as St Paull ordains,
 
 

           of Bishop Cambray        29

tis this universall sobriety, in e
use of the best things, wch the
love of god makes one practiss
with a charming simplicity. One
is neither wild, nor thorny, nor
scrupulous; but the soull has
within her self, a motive of love
wch enlarges the heart, wch swee-
-tens all things, which without
constraining or troubling, inspires
a certain tenderness, never to dis-
-please god, & wch stops the soull
when she is tempted to goe beyond
the rulles.
In s state one suffers, wt other
people suffers too, fatigues, trou-
 

30         spirituall letters

-bles, opositions of humours, cor-
-porall incomodities, difficulties
wth oneself, as well as with oth-
-ers, temptations, & sometimes -
discouragment, & disgusts, -
but if these crosses are comon
with the world, the motives of
suporting them are very different
One knows in Jesus christ saviour
the price and vertue of the cross.
it purifies, disengages, & renews us.
We see incesantly god in all, but
we never see him soe clearly, nor
soe profitably, as in sufferances, &
humiliations, the cross is the force
of god himself; the more it dest-
 
 

            of Bish: Cambray            31

-roys us, the more it advances the
new being, in Jesus Christ, to
make a new man, upon the ruins
of the Old Adam.
Live wthout anny exteriour change
but those wch are nesesary, to
avoid evill, or to precaution your
self against your weakness, or not
to blush at the gosple. for all the
rest, Let not yr left hand know
the good wch yr right performs.
endeavour to be gay & quiet. if
you can find any sensible freind,
and who fears god, solace your -
heart a litle by speaking to him
of those things, which you shall
 


32          Spiritual Letters

think him capable of, but rek-
con that god is the good freind,
of the heart, & that noe body
consolates like him. there is
noe person understands all att
half a word, as he dos. who enters
into all pains, & accomodates
himself to all nesesities with-
-out being importuned therby.
make of him, your second self
soon s second will suplant e
first, & take from it all credit
with you.
show a conduct plain, moderate
without affection of good more then of evill
but firm for vertue, & soe decided
 
 

     Bish: of Cambray          33

that none may have hopes to
withdraw you, you will be less
importuned, when people see t
you are in good earnest engaged
to religion, & will not fall from
it, those who are suspected to
be falce, weak, or light, are the
most tormented hereupon.
place your confidence, not in yr
force, nor in your resolutions, nor
even in the most solid precauti-
-ons (altho you must take them
with much exactness & vigilance)
nor even in the engagements of
honour you shall make that you
 


34         spirituall letters

may not be able to draw back;
but only in the goodness of god you who
Loved you eternally, before you
loved him, & even then when you
offended him wth ingratitude.
You must make yourself a Rulle
of good readings, according to yr
gust & nesesity, you must read
simply, litle at a time, repose
after having read, meditate -
upon it. but s meditation, wth
out much reasoning, more by e
heart then the brain, & leave
god to make his impresion in
your heart, upon the meditated
 
 

         of Bish: Cambray,         35

truth, litle food nourishes much,
when well digested,
  Exhortation to suffer wth ab-
    andonment to gods will.
~ I hope Madam that in this
state of seperation, & biterness
you will find, far from creat-
-ures the most powerful conso-
-lation; God will make you tast
what he is by himself when all
the rest fails. the length of s
triall, will serve to harden you
against yr self, & to make your
abandonment unlimited. When
one gives one self up to god, dur-

36        Spirituall leters

ing the time of peace, & calme
one knows neither wt one wills
nor wt one promises: altho the
abandonment is sincere, tis as
yet very superficiall; but wn
the chalice full of bitterness
presents itself, then nature
shrinks, one is sad, & fearfull
even to death, as Jesus christ
in the garden of olives, one sweats
blood & water, crying out, May s
chalice pass from me; happy
who stifles s repugnance and
rising of nature, to add as the
son of god, yet not my will but
 

         of Bishop cambray            37

Yours be done ; indeed I should
be sory you should lose the least
drop of the chalice wch god pres-
ents you. tis now you must ex-
ercise your faith & your love.
O how god loves you, since he strikes
you without pity? not sacrifise
so ever he demands never hesi-
-tate. the state of sadness wch
preses your heart, and e sight
of an afflicting object which is
every hour before your eyes ma-
-kes me fear for your health. -
manage it, & profit of the litle
solaces which are offerd, do it
with simplicity.
 

38        Spirituall Leters

of the sight, & death of self
                 love
                   3
yes I consent wth joy, that you
should call me your father, I -
am & will always be soe. there
wants but a full persuasion, &
confidence one your part: but
we must wait till your heart
is enlarged. tis self love which
closes it up. one is in a very -
strait compass when shut up -
within ones self: on the contra-
-ry the soull has wide scope, wn
she leaves s prison to enter in-
-to the imensity of god & into the
 
 

        Bish: of Cambray          39

liberty of his children.
I am charm'd to see you in that
unpowerfulnss to wch god reduces
you. without these incapacities
self love could neither be convin-
-ced, nor overthrown, it had still
secret resources, & impenetrable
retrenchments, in your courage
& in your niceness. it hid itself
from your own eyes, & fed itself
with e subtill poison of an apa-
-rent generosity in wch you always
sacrifised your self for others. god
has reduced your self love, to
cry the loud cries, to unmask, &
 


40         Spirituall leters

discover the excess of its jea-
-lousy. O how painfull, & yet how
healthfull is this unpowerfulness,
as long as there remains anyself
-love, one is in despair to show it.
but so long as there is a self love
to persure even to e secretest
folds of the heart, tis a stroke
of infinit mercy, that god forces
you to let it apear. the poison
becomes a remedy. Self love -
pushed to the farthest, can hide
itself noe more, it shows it self
in a transport of dispair, and in
thus apearing, it dishonours all

nor disguise in margin vertically
 

          of Bishop cambray          41

the nicenesses, and disipates the
flatering ilusions of the whole
life. it apears in all its deformi-
ty. tis yourself. Idoll of your self
wch god sets before your own eyes.
you see your self & you canot avoid
seeing your self, happily you pos-
-ess your self no more, and you -
canot forbear leting your self
be seen by others.
this sight so shamefull of a self
love unmasked, causes e punish-
ment even of self love. tis noe more
that self love soe wise, soe disc-
-reet, soe polish'd, soe wrapt up
                          3
 


42       Spirituall Leters

soe master of it self, soe couragi-
ous to take all upon it self, and
nothing upon another. tis noe more
that self love which lived upon -
that subtill food, of thinking it had
need of nothing, who by force, of be-
ing great & generous did not see
much as think it was self love.
tis self love a child jealous of
an aple w cries to get it. but to
this childish self love, is join'd an-
-other self love, much more tormen-
-ting, tis that which cryes for hav-
-ing cried, which canot be silent
and who is inconsolable that it
 

      of Bish: of Cambray        43

can noe longer hide its venom,
it sees itself indiscreet, Grosse,
importune, as it is enraged to
see it self in ths hideous situa-
-tion like Job , it says, that wch
I feard the most is precisely
wt has hapen'd to me. in effect
to kill self love, that which we
are most affraid of, is presisely
wt is most necesary for us, for
to dye, there is noe need god should
strike that which is neither living, nor
sensible, the operation of death
is only taken upon the life of the
heart, all the rest is nothing.
 

44       Spirituall Leteres

You stood in need of wt you have,
a self love convinced, sensible,
Grosse, palpable, there only rem-
-ains that you be content to behold
it in peace: to see s misery, in
peace, is to have it noe more.
You ask remedies to be cured, tis
not now question of cure, but of
death, let yourself die. doe not
impatiently seek any remedy.
but take care least a certain cou-
-rage to pass without any remedy
should be a disguised remedy, and
a resource of cursed life, you must
not seek remedy, to consolate self
 
 

        of Bishop of Cam:

love, but you must not hide the
evill, tell all with simplicity, and
thro litleness, then let your self
dye, it is not leting one self die
to retain any thing with force.
weakness is become your only part
all force is out of season, it would
serve to lengthen the Agony, and
make it more violent, if you ex-
-pire & thro weakness, you will expire
sooner & less painfully, all dying
life is but pain, all cordialls bec-
-ome poison, to the patient mor-
tally struck & fastned upon the
wheel there to expire, what

46         Spirituall Leters

dos he need nothing but the stroke
of grace, no food, noe suport, if
one could weaken him, to advance
his death, it would shorten his suf-
-ferances. but one can doe nothing
therin, only the hand that has
struck and fastned him, can deliver
him from ths remainder of a cruel
life.
Demand neither remedies, nor
food, nor death, to ask for death
is impatience, to ask remedies or
food, is to delay the work of death.
what then must one doe, leave
oneself, seek for nothing, retain
 
 

    of Bishop of Cambray     47

nothing, declare all, not to seek
for consolation, but thro litleness,
and non-resistance, you must
look upon me, not as a resource of
life, but as the instrument of death,
in the same maner as an instru-
-ment of life would be bad if it did
not vivify, and instrument of
death would be contrary to sence.
if it nourished life, instead of
extinguishing it, & giving the stroke
of death. sufer me then to be at
least to apear to you, dry, hard, ind-
iferent, without pitty, importun'd
disgusted, full of contempt. god

48        spirituall leters

knows, how far all that is contra-
-ry to truth, but he permits all t
should seem soe, and tis much more
by these falce, and imaginary things
that I am usefull to you, then by my
affection, and reall sucour, since
tis now question, not being sup-
-orted & living, but to want all
and die.
  4 to see & feell our miseries
  wilingly the way to find peace.
~ All your infidelities, are redu-
-cible to e not being able, to re-
signe your self to see in your hart
humbling impresions, and sentim-
 
 

of the Bish: of Cambray  49

-ents wch cause shame to yr self love
into wt strange land soever you shud
goe to find peace with s niceness
of self love; you would never find
it, the scripture says, W ever
had peace in resisting god. you
would cary everywhere s tender
love, inconsolable upon its mise-
-ries: you wud add to it, the driness,
the emptiness, and the trouble of
a heart stray'd from its way, wth
the intimate reproach of having
bine wanting to god to give solace
to your pride. god would persue
you without cease: should you

50        Spirit: Leters of

fly before his face, as jonas, you
would be sooner cast into e sea
and swalow'd up by a monster,
you wud be forced to come back to
the point, where god will have yu
there is but to consent to see ones
self in all ones deformity, e ugli-
ness of miseries, is like the -
beauty of gods gifts, both disapear
as soon as they are looked upon.
the regard of complaisance ma-
-kes the good vanish, & the reg-
-ard of calme humility makes
the bad disapear, suport e seeing
your self, and all will be cured. the
 
 

            Bish: of Cam:             51

seek for me but as the simple ~
instrument of god, only beholding
him in me; look upon me as the
rock which gave water to the
people of Israell in the desert,
e less I content nature, the more
I serve to kill it, and to make pure
grace folow. the temptation is
evident, but your eyes are shut
not to see it, & you harden your
self against God.
 5 Give ones self to god wthout
  reserve, good use of our faults
~ it seems long to me till I hear
how you find your self in your
 


52           Spirit: let:

of retreat, aproaching to that day
you aprehend so much, and which
is soe litle to be feared. you will
see that these fantomes, which -
fright a far of are nothing when
near. when St teressa made her
engagement, she says she was
seized with a trembling like con-
-vulsions and thought all the bones
in her body was disjointed, learn
says she by my example, to fear
nothing when you give your selves
to god; in effect this first horour
was folowerd by a peace and sanc-
-tity which have bine the wonder
 
 

             the Bish: of Cam:           53

of these last times.
I had rather you slept Eight hours
in the night, and that you pay
god with other coin in the day time
he has noe need of your watching
above your strength, but he demands
a spirit simple, docile, & recolected
a hart suple to all the divine
wills, Great to put noe limits, to
your sacrifise, ready to doe all, &
suffer all, disengaged without re-
-serve from the world and your-
self. behold the true & pure imo-
-lation of the entire man. for all

54         Spirituall Let:

of the rest is not the man: tis but
the outside, the Grosse bark.
Humble your self with the ma-
-ges before Jesus Infant. in giving
your will, wch dos not belong un-
to you, & wch would be yeilded up
to lying, if you should refuse it to
god, you will make & give more ~
precious, then in offring the gold
and perfumes of the east. Give
then, but give With without de-
-vision, & without ever recalling.
O how much one receives by giving
thus, & how much we lose, when
we seek to retain something, the
 

 
      the Bishop of cambray       55

truly faithfull has nothing at all.
he is not even his own any longer.
You ought not to be uneasy about
your deffects provided you doe not
love them, & that there is none
of them, wch you have a certain
secret desire to spare. tis only
these reserves, which stop grace
and make a soull languish, without
ever advancing towards god. if you
abandon all your imperfections to
the spirit of god without reserve
he will devour them as a fire devours
straw, but before he delivers you
from them, he will make use of
 

56          Spiritual leters

them to free you from your self,
and your pride, he will employ m
to humble, crucify, and confound
you, to tear from you all resource
and all confidence in yourself -
he will burn e rods after having
chastised you with them, to make
you die to self love. have courage
suffer, love, be suple and const-
-ant in the hand of god.
6. Against fear & presumption
~ fear nothing, you would doe a
great injury to god, if you should
mistrust his goodness, he knows
beter wt you want, & what you
 

        Bishop of cambray          57

are able to bear, then you doe
he will never tempt you above
your strength, once more fear
nothing soull of litle faith. you see
by the experience of your weakness
how much you ought to be disabused
of your self and your best resolutions,.
to behold the sentiments of zeall
in which one is sometimes one wud
think nothing could be able, to
stop us, nevertheless after having
said like Saint peter, tho even
I should die with you s night
I will not deny you. we finish
like him being affraid of a servant

58          Spirituall leters

& cowardly denying our saviour.
O how weak we are, but as much
as our weakness is deplorable, as
much is the experience of it profi-
-table, to take from us all suport,
and all resource within our selves
a misery which we feel, & which
humbles us, is more for our advan-
-tage than an Angelicall vertue
which we should apropriate to
ourselves with complaisance. be
then weak and discouraged, if god
permits it, but humble, simple, and
docile in s discouragement, you'll
laugh one day, for e terours, wch
 

     of the Bishop of Cam:     59

grace gives you now, and you
will thank god for all I have
said to you to make you renounce
your timid Wisdom
7 of scruples upon conversations
I canot express all my pain. for
your state, the things you repr-
-oach to your self are nothing. its
not e spirit of god, but your own
which recals them. god gives none
of these perplex'd returns. even
then when he shows us our faults
he represents them to us with sweet-
-ness. he condemns & consolates us
together, he humbles without trou-

without prudence vertically in margin


60        Spirituall leters

bling, & he turns us for him against
our selves, in such sort that we
have the confusion of our wilmisery
with the most intimate peace
the lord is not in agitation.
I supose that the gust of conver-
-sation has a litle caried you away,
that you have given to much li-
-berty to your spirit, that self
-love has endeavourd to prevaill;
in a word, I supose all that the
vivacity & niceness of your scru-
ples can exagerate to you. well
what must be thence concluded?
will you renounce all society, will
 

           of the B. of Cam:          61

you shut your dore to your best
freinds who have need of you, &
even to those of whome you are
convinced you stand in need to
goe to god? will you reject the con-
-solations without which you canot
reasonably hope to cure
your body cast down & languishing?
will you finish the exhausting yr
self in a solitary life, which und-
ermines your constituion, and
leaves you noe resource? tis said
that Saint Bernard preaching -
with great success, was tempted
with vain complaisance, and was
                       4
 

62      Spirit: Leters of

one e point to come down from e
pulpit, but the spirit of god made
knowne to him that it was a sub-
-till temptation of vanity scruple.
which alarm'd him too much upon
the temptation of vanity, and he
avowerd to himself continuing
his sermon, it was not vanity wch
made me come up to e pulpit, it
may flater me as much as it will,-
it shall not make me goe down.
Suppose even that you comited true
infidelities in these occasions, you
canot renounce to them, there is
no question of sins, either mortall
 

        the Bish: of cambray           63

or considerable: only of those
faults wch self love renews so of-
-ten & which one never entire-
-ly avoids in s life, the occasions
you would leave are necesary, &
providential they enter into yr
-vocation, in retrenching them, yu
would render your self responsable
for e fall of another, & for your own
spirituall damage, you would-
close and dry up your heart.
more-over doe not think that at
your coming from such conversa-
tions god for your punishment-
withdraws himself from you and
 

64         Spirit: Leters of

deprives you of the graces of pra-
yer, noe; tis only your scrupulosi-
-ty which in agitating you, and em-
-ploying you about your pretend-
-ed faults, troubles you and makes
you act against the atract of sim-
-plicity, & peace, steals e presence
of god from you, and stops e source
of sensible graces in your interiour.
Listnen not to your vain scruples,
endeavour to calm your self, use
your self to count for nothing, that
which is not worth distracting you
from god, admit noe regret for such
faults but that which e Quiet
 

        the Bish: of Cambray          65

presence of god shall inspire you
with. you will see that this priva-
-tion of the sweetnesses of prayer
comes to you, not from god, who wld
punish you for your conversations
but one e contrary from your -
returns one your self, by which
you dry your self & resist the spir-
-it of grace.
I must tell you in e sight of god, I
know noe state more dangerous
nor more oposite to perfection, n
the extremity into wch you would
cast your self to become perfect.
the true conduct of soulls of grace
 

66        Spirit: Leters of

is simple, quiet, comon to the ex-
teriour, far from extreams. you
are scrupulous without measure
for things which need only one
rememdy, which is to let them pass
without thinking one them, and
you make noe scruple of kiling yr
body, of drying yr interiour, of res-
-sisting to your grace, of being ~
untractable, & knowing your self
with scruples one could not suffer
in a child of seven year old. in e
name of god believe me, and end-
-eavour to pass over all your pains
touching conversations, and other
 

           the Bish of Cam:          67

such things, if you could arive to
have voluntarily noe regard, ther-
-to, you wld feell e liberty of god
children, & far from losing your -
prayer, you wud see it more strong
& more intimate. tis sufficient to
stop when e spirit of grace makes
you quietly see that what you wld
say is not pleasing to god, & to con-
-demn your self in peace when you
have comited the fault not to stop.
after which you must goe on honest-
-ly your way, all you shall add over-
-and above is to much, and tis
t which forms a mist, betwixt
 

68         Spirit: Leters of

god & you.
  8 Interiour pains how to
  suport, & solace them. ~
I am charmd with e simplicity
wth which you open your heart
to me upon your pain, god will bless
s conduct proceeding from pure -
grace. the violent sentiments of
your jealousy are unvoluntary:
the excesive pain you are in about
them shows it but too much. if s
Jealousy was less oposed, by the fund
of your will, it would be infinitly
less painfull to you. you have even
but too much activity & ardour to
resist it. your oposition to jealousy
 

        the Bish: of Cambray      69

which you cary even to ecess
opresses your spirit, & body. at e
same time yr heat to reject e
temptation without cease by ex
press acts dryes your interiour, and
troubles e operation of grace, which
draws you to peace, & simple recolect-
-ion, oh if I could persuade you only to
suffer that which you feell, wthout con-
-senting to it, I should re'esablish one
a suden both your health, & your inter
iour. I supose that you folow a little too
much certain sentiments refflections
of vexation, & even that is only the
force of the imagination: but for
the sentiment of Jealousy you only
 

70       Spiritual Leters of

suffer it with horour, thus there
is noe maner of sin in them.
temptations & involuntary senti
ments ought never to hinder you
from comunion. comunicate then,
I conjure you in his name who will
be your peace, when you have rec-
.ceived him, by blind Obedience, and
pure faith. God knows e reall harm
you would doe your self, in depriv-
-ing yourself of the quotidian bread
for an imaginary evill in which yr
will has noe part, & which it rejects
with too much niceness and activity.
I hope the bread of life will draw yu,
to cure all the wounds of your heart.
 

         the Bish: of Cambray      71

you must be without mortall Sin,
but not without imperfection to re-
ceive it, he is e bread which makes
litle ones grow, which fortifies the
weak, and cures e sick. this sacri-
fise of your pains, & of all e returns
of your self love, will be more worth
then all e perplexed and turbulent
acts by which you disturb your reco-
-lection without cease.
I doe believe your sufferance is great:
but that which you make your self
suffer by refflections is infinitely har-
-der than all that god makes you end-
-ure. all pain suffer'd simply in gods
peace how great soever it is in its
 

72          Spirituall Leters of

self, brings its consolation: there
is only the trouble of the will, which
resists god under fine pretexts.
lett all your reflections fall, come back
by litle, & litle, to be silent and listen
to god, s way which to yu the long-
est, is the most short, and your only
resource.
              9
  let our selves be try'd by changes
~ Lett your heart goe as god leads
it, sometimes high, sometimes low,
s vicisitude is a hard triall, if one
was always in pain, one should har
-den oneself unto it, or elce not
hold out long, but the intervalls
of calm & respiration, renew the
 

         the Bish: of cambray             73

forces, & prepare a more afflicting
surprise in the return of biterness,
and pains, as for me when I suffer
I behold only sufferance, beyond lim-
its, and when the time of consola-
tion comes back, nature is afraid
to feell s sweetness, least it should
prove but a kind of treason, which
turns into a more painfull surprise
when the cross begins again, but it
seems to me that true fidelity consists
in taking equally the good and the bad
as they come, being wiling to suport
all the jolt of the change, we must
then let our selves be solaced when
god solaces us, let our selves be surp-
 

74      Spirit: Leters of

-rised when he surprises us, & let
our selves be afflicted when he af-
licts us.
In Saying this to you, I have a horour
of all that which the experience
of these things brings with it, I sh-
rink at the sole shadow of the cross
but the exteriour cross, without
e interiour, which is desolation, -
horour & agony, would be nothing
behold N wt I say to you without de
-signe, because tis wt occupies me
in s moment, I have my heart in
peace dry & biter today, the to
morrow is unknown to me, god will
make it to his good pleasure, and
 

          the Bishop of Cam:          75

it will be always the quotidian br-
ead, it is sometimes very hard, &
very heavy to the stomach listen to
god and not to your self there is e
true Liberty, peace & joy of the hol-
ly Ghost.
                             10
         advantages of litleness
I often beg of god to hold you in his
hand, the esentiall point is litle-
ness, there is nothing it does not
mend because litleness renders do-
cill, & docility redresses all, you wld
be more faulty than another, if you
resisted god in s point, of one side
you have received more lights and
graces than another to let your self
 

76      Spiritual leters of

be made litle, and one the other
side noe body ever experienced
more than you, what ought to bring
down e heart, & take away all con-
-fidence in your self. tis the great
fruit of the experience of our in-
firmities which makes us litle
and suple.
                   11
     how to bear with oneself
those persons who love themselves
only in charity as their neighbour
support themselves charitably wth-
-out flattery as they suport their
neighbour in their imperfections,
one knows wt has need of corection,
in oneself as in another, and labours
 

         the Bishop of cambray,          77

therin heartily, & without soft-
-ness, but dos for oneself what one
would doe for another person, one
was to conduct to god, doing the -
work with patience demanding -
no more of oneself, then one is able
to bear in e present circumstances
without being dejected, for not
being perfect in one day. One cond-
emns ones lightest imperfections,
without any excuse, One sees then
in all their deformity, bearing with
the humilitation, & biterness of them
neglecting noe means for corection
and amendment but without vexa-
tion & trouble, One listens not to
 

78          Spirit: leters of

the vexations & pevishness, of
pride and self love. w mix their
excesive vivacities, with e strong
and peacefull sentiments which -
grace inspires us with, for the corec
-tion of our deffects.
this frettfull concern, serves only
to discourage a soull, to occupy her
with all e delicateness of her self
love but to disgust her of serving
god, but to tire her in her way, to
make her seek for solaces and satis
-factions, contrary to her grace, to
dry, distract, and spend her to prep-
are her a kind of disgust, and dispair
of being able to finish her course.
nothing hinders souls so much as
 

       the Bishop of cambray      79

this interior vexation, & fret-
fulness, when they voluntarily -
yeild unto it, but when the soull on
-ly suffers it, wth any adherance &
without procuring these pains, by
refflections of self love. they are
turn'd into pure crosses, & by con
sequence into sources of grace, they
are rankt amongst the other trials
by which god purifies & protects us
we must then let this sufferance
pass, as we let pass a fitt of a feavour
or e migraine without doing any
thing that can excite or entertain e
evill. In the meantime we must
remain in our interiour occupati-
 

80         Spirituall Leters of

ons, and exteriour duties, as much
as one has the liberty to doe the pra
yer is less sweet & less perceptable,
the presence of god less distinct, and
less consolating, e love less sensible
and lively, even the exteriour duties
are fill's with less facility, & gust but
fidelity is greatest, when it sustains
itsef in these painfull sicromstanc
es,  this is all that god demands.
                     12
  to live of faith & abandonment
think not of things a ffar of, s anxious
concern for e future, is contrary to
your grace, when god gives you helps,
regard him alone, in the socour that
is given you, and take it each day as
 

         the Bish: of cambray        81

the Israelites, received the man-
na, without making provision of it,
from one day to another, the life of
pure faith has two things, the first
that it makes god alone be seen un
der all the imperfect vailles, where
he hides himself, e second is to hold
a Soull without cease in suspence -
one is always as in the Air, without
being able to touch e ground with
ones feet, the consolation of one mo-
ment, never answers for the consol
-ation of the moment, which is to fol
low we must leave god to act in all
that depends of him, & only think of
being faithfull in all which depends
                           5
 

                  Spirit: leters of

of us, this dependance from one -
moment to another, s obscurity &
this peace of the soull, in e incerti
-tude of wt is to hapen to her each
day, is a true martirdom, & without
noise, tis being burnt at a slow fire.
s death is soe tedious, & so intern,
that tis sometimes hid almost as
much from e soull herself, as from
persons who are unaquainted with
her state, when god shall take back
what he has given you, he will know
how to replace it either by other -
instruments or by himself. the very
stones become in his hand, children
of ebraham. A crow brought every
 

              the Bish: of Cam:           83

day half a loaf of bread to St Paull
Hermit in a desert unknown to men
if the Saint had stagred in faith, &
if he had desired to make sure of
another half loaf for the next day
the crow perhaps would have come
back noe more. eat then in peace e
half loaf of each day which e crow
brings you, suficient for each day
is e evill thereof, the to morow
day will have care of it self. he t
feeds us to day, is the same who will
feed us to morow, we shall sooner
see manna fall again from heaven,
then the children of god shall want
food.
 

84     Spirit: leters of
                       31
Not to lose peace beholding our faults
~ there is a very subtill Ilusion in
your pains, for you apear to your
self wholy occupied with what is
due to god, but at the botom tis your
self you are in pain about, you are
desirous to have god glorified, but
would have him be soe by your perfec
-tion, & thus you re'enter into all e
nicenesses of your self love, tis but
a refined turn to re'enter under a
finer pretext into yourself, the true
use to be made of all the imperfecti-
-ons wch you perceive in your self is
neither to justify nor condemn them
(for this Judgment would bring back
 
              the Bish: of Cam:             85

all your scruples) but abandoning
them to god, conform your heart to god,
in the things you canot clear, & rem-
ain in peace because peace is gods
order in wtever state one can be, there
is in effect a peace of confidence, wch
even sinners should have, in e penan-
-ce for their sins, their greif is peace
full, & mingled with consolation
remember that good word which tou-
-ched you, the lord dwels not in trou-
ble.                   14
     Not to be troubled at privations
~ You see well that al your pains
never come but from jealousy, or
from a niceness of self love or from
 

          Spirit: leters of

a fund of scrupulosity which is
again a self love wrapt up, one
e other side these pains always
brings troubles with them, their
cause and their effect, show clearly
they are true & real temptations,
the spirit of god never ocupies us
with sentiments of self love, and
far from troubling us it infuses
peace into our hearts, what is there
more mark'd for temptation, than
to see you half in dispair, revolted
against all that is given you from
god to guide you to him? s resistance
is not naturall, but god permits that
the temptation pushes you to the
 

            the Bishop of Cam:       87

gretest extremities, to the end
the temptation may be the more
easily discover'd. he permits you
alsoe to fall into certain things
very contrary to your excesive nice-
ness and discretion, in the sight of
others, to make you die to that nice-
ness and discretion, of which you were
so jealous, he makes you lose ground
to the end you may find noe more ~
any sensible suport, neither in your
own heart nor in the aprobation of yr
neighbour, in fine he permits you to
believe you see your neighbor wholly
contrary to wt he really is in your
regard, to the end your self love may
 

88          Spirit: Letters of

lose all flattering resource one that
side. the remedy is violent, but noe
less would have served, to disposess
you of yourself, and force all the re
trenchments of your pride, you wud
die, but die without pain in full -
health, you would be tried, but discer
-ne the triall, and be superiour to
it in discerning it, you must give
all or nothing, when god exacts all, if
you have not the force to give, let
him take.
                       15
Suffer without resistance, Humiliation
~ Noe, I canot be in pain, for those
things which agitate you soe much:
but I am far from slighting them. I
 

       the Bish: of Cambray,        89

know that god expresly chuses
these things without foundation, to
try us in a maner, which is at the
same time both humbling, & rigorous.
e delicacy of our pride, has need
that our crosses should be thus sea-
soned, it is nesesary they should be
imaginary and yet surmount us, we
must be oprys'd by our own imagin-
ation, & it must be our own chimaeras
which crucifies ut.
far from contemning these things, I
perceive e hand of god in them, twas
precisely wt you stood in need of. I com-
pasionate you with all my heart, but
I see a great mercy, in this great
 

90     Spirit: leters of

misery, let us consolate ourselves
in e painfull operation, by the good
that it will doe, we are here below
but to suffer, die, sacrifise, lose wth
out any resource, as the least dead
part in living flesh, makes one suf-
-fer strange pains, soe dos the least
remainder of life in a dying soull, cause
a hideous torture, let us then leave
nothing of this secret & malignant
life within us, it is necesary that
god shall tear all from us. lett us
not push back his crucifying hand
it would be to begin again. O how
sweet would your pains be, if you
did nothing but simply feell them, &
adore without resistance or volun-
 

       the Bishop of cam:                91

tary refflection, the strokes of the
hand of god, but the strokes of your
own hand, are the most painfull.
May he who comands the winds, &
tempests of the sea, comand your
imagination to place in it silence
& Calm.            16
              effects of Love
trouble your self no more about
your faults, nor about your confesi-
-ons, Love without cease, & Much
will be forgiven you, because you
will have loved much, one seeks
e satisfactions of self love, & sen
-sible suports, instead of seeking love
we are even deceived, in seeking less
to love, then to see that we love.
 

92          Spirit: leters of

One is, sais St Francis de Salles ~
more occupied with the love. then
with the beloved; tis only for the
beloved, when we are directly oc-
cupied about him, but tis a selfish
return, when we try to assure our
selves of our love. the faults seen
in peace in the spirit of love, are
imediatly consumed by love itself,
but faults seen, wth the vexation
of self love, disturb peace, inter-
-rupt the presence of god, & the exer-
-cise of perfect love, the vexation
and peevishness for the fault is ~
comonly more faulty than the fault
it self. you turn all your pain ~
against e smalest of your infidel
 

          the Bish: of cam:              93

lities, like a man I latly saw, w
having read the life of St Benett
in e Benedictine noviship, vexd
himself so much that he didwas not
like him, that he thereupon left
the noviship, I judge of your fide
lity by your peace & by the liber
ty of your heart, the more your he-
art shall be easy & free, the more
will you be united unto god.
                     17
Why god permits the dimunition
                of fervour
~ I never receive any letters from
you without a reall joy. I have
another which will surprise you,
and wch you must pardon me, tis
 

94              Spirit: leters of

that of seeing you a little less in
sensible fervour, upon which you
reckoned too much. it is good to
experience ones weakness, and to
learn by s experience that this
fervour is but passing, when we
have it, tis god w gives it thro
condesendance to suport our weak-
-ness, tis the milk of litle children,
afterwards one must be weaned, &
eat the dry bred of persons of ripe
Age.
if one had without any interuption
this gust, & this facility, for recolec
-tion, one should be tempted to look
upon it as a good proper belonging
to us, of wch we were sure, we
 

        the Bishop of cambray          95

should noe longer feell our weak-
-ness, nor our propension to evill,
we should not sufficiently defide in
our selves, not have recourse to
prayer with sufficient humility,
but when this sensible fervour suf-
-fers interuptions, we feell what
we have lost, we acknowledge from
whence it came, we are reduced to
humble our selves, to find it again
in god, we serve him with soe much
the more fidelity, as we tast less pl
easure in his service, the soull con
strains herself, she sacrifises her
ease & gust, she advances noe more
by the help & favour of winds, & sailles,


96         Spirit: Leters of the

tis now by strength of Oars, & against
the stream, she takes all upon herself,
she is in obscurity, and contents her
-self with pure faith, one is in pain &
in biterness, but wiling to be soe, &
tis not for the pleasure one remains
engaged to god, one is ready to receive,
this gust when god shall return it,
the soull acknowledges herself weak
and comprehends that when god gives
back this gust, tis to manadge our ~
weakness, but when he takes it away
she humbly & peaceably suports the
privation, & counts that god knows
better than we doe, what is necesary
for us, all that depends on us, & wch
ought to be ever uniform, is the
 

         Bishop of Cambray              97

good will, this will is but the more
pure, when tis wholy dry, & entire-
ly naked, without ever failing.
be firm to observe your hours of
prayer, as if you had still, e great-
est facility therin, profit even of
that time of the day, in which you
have but a half occupation, of ex-
teriour things, to emply your
self interiourly about god. for ex-
ample doe your work in a simple &
familiar presence of god. there is
only conversations in which this
presence is less easy, one may never-
-theless in a generall view recall to
ones self the sight of god, which regu-
lates all the words, and in speaking


97        Spirituall leters of the

to creatures, represes all hastiness
and eagerness, all e marks of Cont
-tempt & disdain, & haughtiness, all the
niceness of self love; bear with
your self, but doe not flatter you
self, labour efficaciously, & with
-out intermission, but peaceably
& without impatience of self love
to corect your faults.
                        18
  Our deffects & unpowerfulness wth
gods grace & e fidelity we owe him
         serve to make us litle
I confess I am overjoy'd to see you
opres'd with your deffects, & by your
being unable to amend, them or over
-come them. s despair of nature
which is reduced to expect no more
 

              Bish: of cam:                   98

from it self, & only to hope from
god, is precisely wt god would have.
he will corect us when we have noe
hopes left of corecting our selves,
tis true you have a nature, prompt
& eager with a fund of muloncholly
which is too sensible upon all deffects
of others, & which renders the impres-
-ions dificult to be effaced, but god
will never reproach you with your
temper, since you did not choose it,
nor are free to change it, it will
even serve for your sanctification if
you bear it as a cross, but that wch
god demands of you, is that you realy
perform in practise, what his grace
places in your hands. You must be
litle interiourly, since you can
 

99        Spirit: leters of

-not be mild exteriourly, you must
let fall your naturall haughtiness,
as soon as you perceive it, & repare
by litleness what you have spoiled
by haughtiness, tis necesary you
really practise a litleness, without
intermission in Ocasions, and be
sincerely disaprocat disapropriat
-ed of your judgement
it is not astonishing that the high
opinion, which severall people
have had these many years, of all
your thoughts, has insensibly accus
-tumed you to a secret confidence
in your self, & to a haughtiness you
did not perceive, this is wt I fear
for you a hunderd times more then
 

            the Bish: of cam:           100

the Salyes of your humour, your
humour will not make you Comit any
thing, but some breakings out briskly,
& sharply: it will serve to show you,
your haughtiness, which perhaps you
would never see, without these viva-
cities which escape from you: but
the source of the evill is only in the
secret height, which has been nour-
ished soe long a time by the most
specious pretexts.
let your self then be made litle, by yr
own faults, as much as your occupati
on about the faults of others had ma-
de you great, use your self to see
others pass without your advice, and
pass your self without judging them.
                             6
 

                   Colections

at least if you doe say anny thing
let it be thro pure simplicity; not
to decide or corect; but only to
propose a simple doubt. & desiring
others to advertise you, as you ad-
-vertise them. in a word the great
point, is to put your self one even
ground with e most imperfect, yu
must give them a certain freedom
with you, wch may facilitate to them
the opening of their harts. if you -
have received any thing for them, yu
must impart it, less by way of corec-
-tion, n for consolation & nourishment
19 of e Corect: & Discovery of our
          faults
Your last leter caused me a sensible
 

        the Bish: of Camb:              102

pleasure: I thank god who made
you write it. I am equaly persuad-
-ed of your sincere will, to relate all
& your being unable to doe it.
whilst we are not yet entirely per-
-fect we can know our selves, but
imperfectly. the same self love wch
ocsasions our faults, hides them very
cuningly from our own & others eyes.
self love cannot suport the sight of it
self, it would dye with shame and vex-
ation. if it perceives it self by any
corner, it places itself in some falce
light to sweeten its deformity, & to
have something of consolation, thus
there is always some remnant of
 

103       Spirituall leters,

Ilusion in us, whilst there remains
some imperfection, & some fund
of self love.
Self love should be wholly pulled
up by the roots, & e love of God shud
only act in us, to show us perfectly
to our selves, then e same princi-
-ple which discovers to us our imp-
-erfections would take them from
us. till then one knows one self
but by halves, because one is but half
gods, living still to our selves more
than we imagin, or dare to see, when
truth shall be fully in us, we shall, we
shall clearly behold it: loving our
selves noe more, but out of pure chari
 

         Bish: of Cambrary,           104

ty, we shall see ourselves without
interest, & without flattery, as we
shall see our neighbor, in the interim
god spares our weakness, discover-
ing our deformity to us, but propor-
tionably to the courage which he
gives us to suport the sight of it, he
shows us to our selves but by pieces
ingaly now one, then another, accor-
ding as he would undertake some
corection in us. without this merci-
full precaution, which proportions
the force to the light, the study of our
miserives, would produce nothing but
dispair.
the Persons who direct, should next
 

105        Spirit: leters of

Declare our defects to us, till god
begins to prepare us for it, one must
see a defect with patience, and say
nothing of it exteriourly, till god be-
-gins to reproach it interiourly. one
must alsoe imitate god, who sweet-
-ens this reproach, in such sort that
the person believes tis less god, then
her own accusation, herself feeling
that wch wounds love. all other cond-
-uct, where one reprehends with imp-
-patience because one is shocked with
that which is deffective, is a human
critique, and not a corection of grace.
tis by imperfection, that one repre-
-hends the imperfect. tis a self love
 

            Bishop of Cambray              106

subtill & penetrating, which pardons
nothing to anothers self love, the
more tis self love, the more tis sev-
ere & censorious, there is nothing mo-
-re shocking, then the clashes of one
self love against another self love
delicate & haughty, the pasions of
another apear infinitly ridiculous
and insuportable, to whosoever is
given to his own, one the contrary, e
love of god, is full of regards, suport-
-ment, condescendances, managements,
it proportions itself, it expects, it
never makes two steps at a time, e
less one loves one self, the more one
accomodates to the imperfections, of
 

107        Spirit: leters

anothers self love, to cure them
patiently, never making any incisi
-on without puting much Ointment
upon e wound: One purges the sick man
but nourishing him at the same time:
one should hazards noe operation, till
nature shows that it prepares for it,
one waits whole years to place a good
advice, expecting till providence gives
some occasion outwardly, and that gra-
-ce gives an opening for it interiourly
in the heart, it you would gather the
fruit before it be ripe, you pull it
of the tree to pure Loss.
Moreover you have reason to say
that your changeable dispositions
 

          of the Bish: Camb:             108

escape from you, & t you know not
wt to say of your self. as the most
part of dispositions are changeable
and mix'd, those one endeavours to
explicate become falce, before the
explication is finish'd: there comes
another quite diferent, which alsoe
falls in its turn, in an apearance of
falceness, but you must not limit your
self, to declare that which seems
true in the moment, in which you
open your heart, it is not necesary
to say all, tying your self to a metho-
-dicall examen: tis sificient, to re-
-tain nothing thro want of simplicity.
 

109        Spirit: letters of

and to sweeten nothing, by the flat-
-ering colours of self love. God sup-
-lies e rest acording to necesity, in
favour of an upright heart; and the
soulls wit enlightened by grace, easily
discerne that which one knows not
how to tell them, when one is before
them candid, sincere, and without
reserve.
for our imperfect freinds, they can
know us, but imperfectly. they often
judge of us, but by the exteriour def-
-fects which make themselves be felt
in society, & which incomodes their
self love. Self love is a sharp censur
-er, rigourous, suspicious, & implaca
 

             the Bish: of cam:            110

-ble, the same self love, which swee-
tens to them, their own deffects, mag-
nifies ours in their eyes, as they are
in a point of sight very diferent from
ours, they see in us, wt we doe not see
and they see not, what we doe, they
see there with subtilty & penetrati-
on many things, which wounds their
self love delicate, & jealous, & which
ours disguises to us: but they doe
not see, in our intimate fund that
which soills our vertues, & is only
displeasing to god. thus their judg-
ment the most piercing & sounding
is very superficiall. My conclusi
on is, that tis sufficient to listen
 

111           Spirit: leters of
                                 interiour
to god in a profound  silence, and
to relate in simplicity for and against
one self what one thinks one see's
by the pure light of god, in the mom-
-ent wherin one endeavours to mani-
-ifest one self.
You will tell me perhaps, that this
interiour silence is difficult when
you are in driness, in the emptiness
of god, and in that insensibility wch
you have described to me. may be
you will add that you can not labour
actively to recolect your self.
but I do not require of you, an active
and industrious recolection: tis to
be pasively recolected not to disip
ate one self, and to let fall the na
 
          the Bish: of camb:              112

turall activity which disipates.
you must still more avoid activity
for disipation then for recolection.
it sufises to let god act, and not to
interupt him by superfluous occupa
-tions which flater the gust, and va-
nity. tis sufficient often to let proper
activity fall by a simple cesation or
repose, which makes us re'enter with
-out any strife into the dependance
of grace, we must be litle employ'd
about our neighbour, ask litle of him,
expect litle from him, and not think
he is wanting to us, when our self love
is tempted to believe it meets with
some wrong, you must let all pass,
 

              Spirit: letters of

and bear with litleness, all pain
which dos not pass.
this pasive recolection, is very from
different from the active, which we
procure by labour, & industry, pro-
to ourselves certain distinct, and
formal objects; the pasive is but a
repose of the fund, wch is disengaged
from the exteriour objects of this world.
God is not then so much the exterior
distinct object of our thoughts, as he
is the principle, & cause of life wch
regulates our occupations, in s state
one performs with peace, & without
eagerness or perplexity all that one
has to doe, the spirit of grace sweet-
 

       the bish: of Cambray            114

-ly. but this jealous spirit, stops &
suspends our action as soon as the
activity of self love begins to mix
it self therin. then the simple non-
action makes all that is naturall fall,
& replaces the soull with god to begin
again exteriourly without activity
the simple accomplishment of her
Duties.
in this state, the soull is free from in
all the exteriour subjections, because
she takes nothing for her self of all that
she performs: she only acts for necessi-
ty. she fore-sees nothing out of curio-
-sity, she limits herself, to the present
moment, she abandons e passed to
 

            Spirit: leters of

God, she never acts but with dep
-endance. she recreats because the
need of some relaxation & thro litle
ness, but she is sober in all because
the spirit of Death is her life. she is
contented desiring nothing.
to remain in s reoose, you must
without cease let all fall which can
put you out of it, you must often be
silent, to be in a condition to hear-
-ken to the interiour Master, who
teaches all truth; & if we are faith-
full In listening to him, he will not
faill to silence us very often. when
we doe not hear that intimate, and
tend soft voice of the Spirit, who is
 

      the Bish of Cambray          116

the soull of our soull, tis a signe
that we are not silent, to hearken
unto it, his voice is not a strange,
nor foreigne thing. God is in our soull
as our soull is in our body. tis some
thing we distinguish noe more from
ourselves, but something which leads
us, which restrains us, & which breaks
all our activities
the Silence which we owe him, to hear-
-ken unto him, is but a simple fidelity
to act always dependently, & to cease
as soon as he makes us feell, that this
dependance begins to Alter, there
needs only a will, suple, docill, & dis-
-engaged from all, to accomodate one
 

117         Spirit: leters of

self to s impresion, the Spirit of
grace teaches us itself to depend-
upon it in all occasions, tis not a
miraculous inspiration, which expo-
ses to illusion, & fanatisme: tis but
a peace of the fund, to lend itself
without cease to e spirit of god
in the darknesses of faith, without
believing anny thing but the reveal'd
truths. & without practising anny
thing but the evangelicall comand-
-ements.
As for your insensibility in a state
of driness, weakness, & obscurity, and
interiour misery, I am not in pain-
about it, provided you remain in s
 

           the Bish: of Cam:               118

pasive recolection, wch I latly
mention'd, with a litleness, and do-
cility without reserve. when I speak
of docility, I only propose it to you
for N: & I know how your heart has
always bine open one that side. we
are secure but as much, as we do not
think our selves soe, & that thro
litleness we give even to the least
the liberty to reprehend us. for my
part, I would be reprended by all
those who would tell me, wt they hve
remark'd in me, & I hope by the grace
of god never to raise my self above an
-ny of the least.
 

119          Spirit: leters of

  20 the value of wt we doe for
  god without sensible gust.
~ I have remark't that you reckon'd
a litle too much upon your recolec-
-tion, & upon your fervour. God has
withdrawn these sensible gifts, to
disengage you from them, to learn
you how weak you are of your self, &
to accustom you to serve god without
that gust which makes vertues easy.
One dos much more for him performing
the same things without pleasure, and
with repugnance. I doe litle for my
freind when goe one foot to see him
because I love walking, & have exce-
-lent legs with wch I take great plea-
 

          of the Bishop of Cam            120

sure to walk: but if I become gou-
ty, every step I make, costs me a great
deall; I walk no more but with pain
and repugnance: then the same vis-
its which I formerly renderd to my
freind, & of which he was not to make
account, now begins to be of a new
value they are the marks of a very
lively, & strong freindship: the more
pain I have in them, the more kindly
he ought to take them: one step des
erves more than a hunderd did bef-
ore. I doe not say s to flatter you, &
to fill you with a vain confidence.
Ah god forbid! tis only to hinder you
from falling into a very dangerous
                            7

121      Spirit: leters of the

temptation, which is that of discou-
-ragement & trouble. when you
are in abundance & interiour fer
-vour you count as nothing all your into
-good works which flow as I may
say from the source, when one the
contrary you find yourself in driness,
poverty and allmost in interiour
incapacity disability remain litle under the
hand of god, in e state of naked faith
acknowledging your misery, turn
yourself towards all powerfull love
and never defide of his socour. O'
that tis good to see one self stript
of all sensible suports, which flater'd
self love, & reduced to acknowledge
 

             Bish: of Cambrary                 122

this word of the holly Ghost, Noe man
living shall be justified before you:
walk always in the name of god tho
it seems to you, that you have not e
force nor courage to set one foot be-
fore the other, soe much the beter
that huamn courage faills you! the
abandonment to god will not be wan-
-ting to you in your weakness. St Paul
cryes out: When I am weak, then
tis I am strong and when he demands
to be delivered from his weakness, god
answers, Vertue is perfected in
infirmity. Let yourself then be per-
fected by the experience of your im-
perfection, & by an humble recourse
 

123               Spirituall leters of

to him w is the strength of the weak.
employ yourself with a simple free
dom in prayer with all that can help
you to be in prayer, & which may nou-
-rish recolection in you. doe not con-
strain your self. Ease your imagina
-tion sometimes exhausted, impati-
.ent, and sometimes, serve your self
of all that can calm it, and wch may
facilitate to you, a familiar comerce
of love with god. all you shall gust, &
find a need of will be good where e
spirit of god is, there is liberty.
this liberty simple and pure consists in
seeking interiourly in prayer, the nou-
-rishment of love, wch occupies us
 

        Bish: of Cambray              124

the most easily with the beloved,
your interiour poverty will often
bring you back to a feeling of your
misery. God soe good will not let you
lose sight, how unworthy you are of
him, & your unworthiness will imedi-
atly bring you back to his infinit boun-
ty- take courage the work of god, is
wrought but by the distruction of
ourselves. I beg of him to uphold you
to consolate you, & to impoverish y'u
and to make you gust that amiable
word: blessed are the poor in spirit
  21 God humbles e soull by her weak
                                            nesses
I am in a shamefull weariness of cros-
ses, to my seeming there remains to
 

125          Spirit: leters of

me neither force nor respiration
to breath Air in my sufferance, the
cross gives me horour, & my coward
-liness as much. betwixt these two
horours I am burthensome to my self.
I shrink through fear of some new
occasion of suffering. tis not living
to live thus: but wt signifies it our
life ought to be but a tedious death.
we have but to leave ourselves, to
the Alpowerfull will which crucifies
us by litle, & litle.
My heart suffers in this moment upon
wt you told me, & your sufferance aug
-ments min: but there is in me, to
my seeming a fund of self interest, &
a lightness of which I am ashamed.
 

           the Bishop of Cam:           126

the least thing that is sad for me
opresses me: the least that flaters
me a litle, raise me above measure,
nothing is more humbling then to see
oneself so tender to oneself, so hard
to another, so cowardly when I see
but the shadow of a cross, and soe
light as to shake of all at the least
flattering glimpse. but all is good, god
opens to us a strange book to instruct
us when he makes us read in our own
heart.
  22. suport e Sight of ou
  interiour deformity.
I have seen the letter you received:
tis excellent, & you wil resemble it
if you are faithfull in following of it.
 

127         Spirit: leters of

Ever dispair of your own endeavours
and strivings, which exhaust you,
without giving you any suport, and
hope only in grace, to e simple, plain
and quiet operation of which you
must accomodate yourself. resist
not god and you will have peace even
in your sufferances. tell us all; not
to yeild your self to the temptaion
by endless reasonings, but out of pure
simplicity to hearken to wt is said
unto you. your great evill is not in yr
involuntary sentiment of jealousy,
which would only humble you, much
to your profit. but tis in the revolt of
your heart, wch canot suffer an evill
soe shamefull: and which under-
 

             Spirit leter B. Cam             128

pretext of tenderness of conscience
would shake of the yoke of humilia-
tion. you will have neither fidelity
nor repose till you give full consent
to experience as long as you live all
the shamefull & unworthy sentiments
which occupy you. your vain striv-
ing will but Iritate the evill infin-
itly: but s evill will be a marvel-
ous remedy to your pride as soon as
you are wiling to let be aplyed to
you patiently by the hand of god.
be accustomed then to see your self
Jealous, unjust, envious, unequall,
peace is there: you will never find it
anywhere elce. what fruit have you
 

129             Spirit: leters of

reaped hetherto by disobeying, God
must each time work a miracle of grace,
to overcome you; you make use of
-all, & you self love disguises it self
in the form of a stiff devotion to undoe
the work of god, which is a destroying
operation. let yourself be distroy'd
and god will doe all in you.
  23 Not to hearken or speak to
  ourselves, but to god
~ though you doe not write to me
I canot forbear writing to you and
presing you to let me hear from you.
are you in peace in your solitude?
are you not there with your self? one
is never less alone then when one
is with one self. at least one can part
 

        the Bish: of cam:             130

from others at certain hours, but
when one is delivered up to oneself,
there is no more medium, nor hour
of reserve. self love talks day &
night: the more tis solitary, the
more tis lively and importunate.
I beg of God to take its place, and to
become himself alone the whole so-
-ciety of your heart.
Happy the soul that silences her-
-self to listen only to him! O what
consolating truths he says when he
speaks at liberty! as one says all to
god without a certain train of words,
he speaks alsoe all of his Side without
a certain trains of discourse, the


JULIAN OF NORWICH, SHOWING OF LOVE I, II, III

DAME MARGARET GASCOIGNE, DAME BRIDGET MORE

DAME BARBARA CONSTABLE, UPHOLLAND MANUSCRIPT

'COLECTIONS', MAZARINE 1202,  I AND III

SPIRITUAL LETTERS OF ARCHBISHOP FNELON TO MADAME GUYON, MAZARINE 1202, IIA

SPIRITUAL LETTERS OF ARCHBISHOP FNELON TO MADAME GUYON, MAZARINE 1202, IIB

DAME GERTRUDE MORE'S DEFENSE OF FATHER AUGUSTINE'S WAY OF PRAYER, 'COLECTIUONS, MAZARINE 1202

DAME CATHERINE GASCOIGNE'S DEFENSE OF FATHER AUGUSTINE BAKER'S WAY OF PRAYER, 'COLECTIONS', MAZARINE 1202, IV

AUGUSTINE BAKER WEBSITE Link



 

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