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the proud building they had reared on a sandy foundation, instead of the Rock, CHRIST.
The establishment of all these ends, which he proposed in coming into the world, is effected by the apparent overthrow of that very structure which in reality he would erect : for by means 'which seem to destroy his church, he establishes it. How strangely does he found the new law and give it a sanction! the very legislator himself is condemned by the learned and great, as a malefactor, and at length dies an ignominious death. Oh that we fully understood how very opposite our self-righteousness is to the designs of God-it would be a subject for endless humiliation, and we should have an utter distrust in that which at present constitutes the whole of our dependance.
This being premised, it will be less difficult for you to conceive the designs of God, in the favours he has conferred on the most miserable of creatures. From a just love of his supreme power, and a righteous jealousy over mankind, who attribute to each other the gifts he himself bestows upon them, it pleased him to take one of the most unworthy of the Creation, to make known that his grace are the effects of his will, not the fruits of our merits; that it is the property of his wisdom, to destroy what is proudly built, and to build what is destroyed, to make use of weak things to confound the mighty, and to employ in his service such as appear vile and contemptible.
This he does in a manner so astonishing, as to render them the objects of the scorn and contempt of the world. It is not to draw the
public public approbation upon them, that he makes them instrumental in the salvation of others; but to render them the objects of their dislike, and the subjects of their insults; as you will see in the narrative of the life, you have ordered me to write.
I WAS bom the 18th of April 1648, my pa
rents, particularly my father, was extremely pious, but to him it was in a manner hereditary, as many of his fore-fathers were Saints.
My mother, in the 8th month was accidently frighted, which caused an abortion, and it is generally imagined that a child born in that month cannot survive ; indeed I was so excessively ill, immediately after my birth, that all about me despaired of my life, and were apprehensive I should die without baptism; but perceiving some signs of recovery they ran to acquaint my father, who immediately brought a priest; but on entering the chamber they were told, those symptoms which had raised their hopes were only expiring struggles, and that all were now over.
* IF I had then died, I should perhaps have never either known or loved my God, and this heart created only "for thyself, without ever having had the blessedness of a single moment's union with thee, had been eternally banished thy sacred presence.-- thou who art the Supreme Felicity! if I now deserve thy hatred, and am hereafter a vessel prepared for perdition, yet still the consolation remains, of my having once known and loved thee: of having once sought and followed thee; and I am also consoled in my willingness, to embrace, through my attachment to thy Divine Justice, the eternal decree it may pronounce against me ; for I love thy justice when it deals more rigorously with me than any other. Yea! I am so enamoured with thy Justice, and pure glory, that regardless of myself or my proper interests, I take part with thee against inyself, and where thou strikest there will I strike also. And though I should have enjoyed the advantage of never having actually offended thee, had I died at that tender age, yet the pleasure which arises on being sacrificed to thee, through love; together with the blessedness of having once loved thee, far transcends the pain I feel in having since so often displeased thee.
I HAD no sooner shewn signs of life again, than I again relapsed, and remained so long in an uncertain state, that it was some time before they could find a proper opportunity to baptize
* Our author here adverts to the opinion commonly received in the Romish church ; that children dying without baptism are not saved; from this error however, she takes occasion to break forth, into those refinements of sentiment, which though foolishness to the mere natural man, all real christians cannot but admire.
me, and I continued very unhealthy until I was two years and a half old, when they sent me to the * convent of the Ursulines, where I remained a few months.
On my return, my mother neglected to pay due attention to my education. She was not fond of daughters, and abandoned me wholly to the care of servants; and indeed I should have suffered severely from their inattention to me, had not thine all-watchful Providence been my protector ; for through the liveliness of my disposition, I met with various accidents, and frequently fell into a deep vault that held our firewood; however, I always escaped unhurt.
The Dutchess of Montbason came to the Convent of the Benedictines, when I was about four years old. She had a high friendship for my father, and obtained his permission that I should go to the same Convent; for she took peculiar delight in my infant sportiveness, and à certain sweetness in my external deportment, with which God had endowed me: I accordingly became her constant companion.
I FELL into frequent and dangerous disorders in this house, and remember to have committed considerable faults. I here had good examples before me, and being naturally well inclined I. quickly followed them, when there was none to turn me aside. I loved to hear God spoken of, to be at church, and dressed in a religious habit. One day I was told of the terrors of hell, whiclı I imagined was merely to intimidate me, as I
* Children are educated in many of the F:ench Convents as at our boarding schools.
was exceedingly lively, and full of a little petulant vivacity, which they called wit; the succeeding night I dreamt of hell, and though I was so young, yet time has never since been able to efface the frightful ideas, which were then impressedupon my imagination : All appeared horrible darkness, where souls were punished, and my place amongst them was pointed
At this I wept bitterly, and cried, Oh my God, if thou wilt have mercy upon me, and spare me
yet a little longer, I will never offend theeAnd thou didst, O Lord, in mercy hearken unto my cry, and pour upon me strength and courage to serve thee, in an uncommon manner for one of my age. I wanted to go privately to confession, but being so little, the mistress of the boarders carried me to the priest, and stayed with me while I was heard singly ; but she was much astonished when I came to mention, that I had had suggestions against the faith, and the confessor began to laugh, and enquire what they
I told him till then I had doubted there was such a place as hell, and supposed my mistress had spoken of it merely to make me good, but that now my doubts were all removed. After confession my heart glowed with a kind of fervour, and at one time I felt a desire to suffer martyrdom. The good girls of the house, to amuse themselves, and see how far this growing fervour would carry me, desired I should
I found great fervency and delight in prayer on this occasion, and was persuaded that this ardour, which was as new as it was pleasing, was a proof of God's love; and this inspired me with such courage and resolution, that I earnestly besought them to proceed, that I might thereby enter into thy sacred presence. But was there not latent hypocrisy here? did I
prepare. I found