Refined In His Presence
By Madame Guyon
God purifies your spirit through Wisdom as refiners do metals in the furnace. Gold cannot be purified except by fire, which consumes all that is earthly and foreign.
The earthly part cannot be changed into gold. No, it must be melted and dissolved by force of the fire to separate every foreign particle. It must be cast again and again into the furnace until it has lost ever trace of pollution and ever possibility of being further purified.
Now, because of its perfect purity and simplicity, the goldsmith can no longer discover any adulterate mixture. The fires no longer touches it. If it were to remain in the furnace its spotlessness would not be increased or its substance diminished.
It is now fit for the most exquisite workmanship. Hereafter, if the gold seems obscured or defiled, it is nothing more than accidental impurity occasioned by the contact from some foreign body, and it is only superficial. There is no hindrance to its service.
Thus, divine justice and wisdom, like a pitiless and devouring fire, must destroy all that is earthly, sensual, and carnal before the soul can be united to God.
This can never be accomplished by any works of the creature. In fact, the creature always submits with reluctance because he is so enamored with self and so fearful of its destruction. If God did not act on him powerfully and with authority, he would never consent.
Yet, I would add even though God does not rob man of his free will, man can always resist divine operations. I would be in error to say God acts absolutely and without man’s consent.
Let me, however, explain. By man giving God a passive consent, God may then assume full power and entire guidance. In the beginning of his conversion, man gave an unreserved surrender of himself to all that God wills. He thereby gave an active consent to whatever God might require.
When God begins to purify, very often the soul does not perceive that these operations are intended for his good. Rather, he supposes the contrary.
When gold is first placed in the fire, it seems to blacken rather than brighten. The soul being purified senses this also, but he perceives that purity is lost.
If active and explicit consent was required, the soul could scarcely give it. No, in fact, he would often withhold it all. All he does now is to remain firm in his passive consent enduring as patiently as possible all these divine operations.
In this manner, God purifies a soul from its self-originated and multiplied operations which constitute a great dissimilitude between him and God.