The Life and Letters of Elizabeth Prentiss eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 929 pages of information about The Life and Letters of Elizabeth Prentiss.

CHAPTER X.

ON THE MOUNT.

1870.

I.

A happy Year.  Madame Guyon.  What sweetens the Cup of earthly Trials and the Cup of earthly Joy.  Death of Mrs. Julia B. Cady.  Her Usefulness.  Sickness and Death of other Friends.  “My Cup runneth over.”  Letters.  “More Love to Thee, O Christ.”

In every earnest life there usually comes a time when it reaches its highest point, whether of power or of enjoyment; a time when it is in

  —­the bright, consumate flower.

The year 1870 formed such a period in the life of Mrs. Prentiss.  None that went before, or that followed after, equalled it, as a whole, in rich, varied and happy experiences.  It was full of the genial, loving spirit which inspired the Little Susy books and Stepping Heavenward; full, too, of the playful humor which runs through Fred and Maria and Me; and full, also, of the intense, overflowing delight in her God and Saviour that breathes in the Golden Hours.  From its opening to its close she was—­to borrow an expression from her Richmond journal—­“one great long sunbeam.”  Everywhere, in her home, with her friends, by sick and dying beds, in the house of mourning, in the crowded street or among her flowers at Dorset, she seemed to be attired with constant brightness.  Of course, there were not wanting hours of sadness and heart-sinking; nor was her consciousness of sin or her longing to be freed from it, perhaps, ever keener and more profound; but still the main current of her existence flowed on, untroubled, to the music of its own loving, grateful and adoring thoughts.  Often she would say that God was too good to her; that she was satisfied and had nothing more to ask of life; her cup of domestic bliss ran over; and as to her religious joy, it was at times too much for her frail body, and she begged that it might be transferred to other souls.  Her letters give a vivid picture of her state of mind during this memorable year; and yet only a picture.  The sweet reality was beyond the power of words.

In the early part of this year the correspondence of Madame Guyon and Fenelon fell into her hands, and was eagerly read by her.  The perusal of this correspondence led, somewhat later, to a careful study of the Select Works, Autobiography, and Spiritual Letters of Madame Guyon, thus forming an important incident in her religious history.  Heretofore she had known Madame Guyon chiefly through the Life by Prof.  Upham and the little treatise entitled A Short and very Easy Method of Prayer; and both seem rather to have repelled her.  In 1867 she wrote to a friend: 

There is a book I would be glad to have you read, and which I think you would wish to own; ‘Thoughts on Personal Religion,’ by Goulburn.  I never read a modern religious book that had in it so much, that really edified me.  I take for granted you have Thomas a Kempis; on that and on Fenelon I have feasted for years every day; I like strengthening food and whatever deals a blow at this monster Self.  Madame Guyon I do not understand.

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The Life and Letters of Elizabeth Prentiss from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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