[You are worthy, O Lord,
To receive glory and honor and power;
For You created all things,
And by Your will they exist and were created.” Rev. 4:11 NKJV]
O my God! before You made the Heavens and the earth, there was none other but You. You were, because of Your years there was no beginning; but You were alone. Out[side] of You there was nothing, and You did rejoice in this blessed solitude; You are all sufficient in Yourself, and You had no need of anything out of Yourself, for none can give unto You, and it is You that give to all by Your all-powerful word, that is, by Your simple will. To it, nothing is difficult, and it does whatsoever it will from its own labor. You did cause that this world, which was not as yet, should begin to be; not as the workmen of the earth, who find the materials for their work ready made to their hands, and whose art consists in bringing them together, and arranging them by slow degrees in the requisite order; You did find nothing ready made, but did create all the materials for Your work. It was to nothing that You did say, “Let the world be,” and it was. You did only speak and it was done.
But why did You create all these things? They were all made for man and man was made for You. This is the order which is of Your appointment, and woe to him who inverts it, who would that all should be for him and shuts himself in self! He breaks the fundamental law of creation…
[“To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Col. 1:27 NKJV]
I find You everywhere within. It is You that does every good thing which I seem to do. I have a thousand times experienced that I could not of myself govern my temper, overcome my habits, subdue my pride, follow my reason nor will again the good which I had once willed. It is You that must both bestow the will and preserve it pure [Phil 2:13]; without You I am but a reed shaken by the wind. You are the author of all the courage, the uprightness and the truth which I possess; You have given me a new heart which longs after Your righteousness [Eph. 4:24], and which is
athirst for Your eternal truth; You have taken away the old man full of filth and corruption, and which was jealous, vain, ambitious, restless, unrighteous and devoted to its own pleasure [Rom. 6:6]. In what a state of misery did I live. Ah! could I ever have believed that I should be enabled thus to turn to You, and shake off the yoke of my tyrannical passions?
… I leave myself, Father, in Your hands; make and re-make this clay, shape it or grind it to atoms; it is Your own, it has nothing to say; only let it always be subservient to Your ever-blessed designs, and let nothing in me oppose Your good pleasure for which I was created. Require, command, forbid; what would You have me do? what not do? Exalted, or abased, rejoicing or suffering, doing Your work or laid aside, I will always praise You alike, ever yielding up all my own will to Yours! Nothing remains for me but to adopt the language of Mary: “Be it unto me according to Your words.” (Luke 1:38.)
Let me, O my God, stifle forever in my heart, every thought that would tempt me to doubt Your goodness. I know that You cannot but be good. O merciful Father! let me no longer reason about grace, but silently abandon myself to its operation. Grace performs everything in us, but
does it with and through us; it is by it, therefore, that I act, that I forbear, that I suffer, that I wait, that I resist, that I believe, that I hope, and that I love, all in co-operation with grace. Following
its guidance, it will do all things in me, and I shall do all things through it; it moves the heart, but the heart must move; there is no salvation without man’s action. I must work, then, without losing a moment, that I may put no hindrance in the way of that grace which is incessantly working within me. All the good is of grace, all the evil is of self [flesh]; when I do right, it is grace that does it; when I do wrong, it is because I resist grace. I pray God that I may not seek to know
more than this; all else will but serve to nourish a presumptuous curiosity. O my God! keep me ever in the number of those babes to whom You reveal Your mysteries, while You conceal them from the wise and prudent! [Matt. 11:25].
from SPIRITUAL PROGRESS or INSTRUCTIONS IN THE DIVINE LIFE OF THE SOUL
From the French of François Fénelon (1651-1715) and Madame Guyon
Edited by James W. Metcalf. New York: M. W. Dodd, 1853.
Selected from Book 1: Christian Counsel, chapter 2: Of the Necessity of Knowing and Loving God.
Old English updated, headings and bracketed content added – JBW