Spiritual Progress

Five Inspiring Essays by Mystical Thinkers of the 17th Century

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A collection of five inspiring essays by three closely linked mystical thinkers of the seventeenth century—François Fénelon, Madame Jeanne Guyon, and Père Lacombe—whose focus on the availability of intimacy with God made them scandalous in their day.
“Christian Counsel” and “Spiritual Letters,” by Archbishop Fénelon, offer wise advice on how to find the keys to true devotion and peace.
“Method of Prayer” and “On the Way to God,” by Fénelon’s close friend, Madame Guyon, demonstrate the critical importance of constant prayer.
“Spiritual Maxims,” by Père Lacombe, the spiritual mentor of Madame Guyon, emphasizes the importance of expressing a passionate love for God.
Each stirring work is divided into short chapters, making Spiritual Progress ideal for morning or evening devotions or for Bible study. This treasured collection of classic Christian wisdom is certain to lead readers closer to the heart of God.

François de Salignac de la Mothe-Fénelon (1651–1715) was a French archbishop, theologian, and writer whose excursions into the contemplative life, especially the quietism espoused by Madame Jeanne Guyon, caused controversy in the church of his day. His writings remain as an encouragement and source of spiritual growth for many Christians today. Fénelon, descended from a long line of nobility, started his higher studies in 1672 at Saint Sulpice seminary in ...Read More

François de Salignac de la Mothe-Fénelon (1651–1715) was a French archbishop, theologian, and writer whose excursions into the contemplative life, especially the quietism espoused by Madame Jeanne Guyon, caused controversy in the church of his day. His writings remain as an encouragement and source of spiritual growth for many Christians today. Fénelon, descended from a long line of nobility, started his higher studies in 1672 at Saint Sulpice seminary in Paris. He was ordained a priest in 1676 and appointed director of Nouvelles Catholiques (“New Catholics”), a college for women who taught converts from French Protestantism. Fénelon, while never supportive of Protestantism, was nonetheless critical of harsh treatment toward Huguenots (French Protestants) and the many forced conversions that occurred under King Louis XIV. Fénelon instead held open meetings with Protestants to share the Catholic doctrine in a nonthreatening environment. Fénelon’s first important work, Traité de l’éducation des filles (Treatise on the Education of Girls), was conservative overall but also suggested noncoercive concepts for educating females that were very innovative for his day. His second and best-known work, Les Aventures de Télémaque (The Adventures of Telemachus), outlined Fénelon’s political beliefs through the account of Telemachus’s search for Ulysses. It was written during Fénelon’s time as tutor to Louis, Duke de Bourgogne, the grandson and heir to Louis XIV.

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Jeanne Guyon (1648–1717) was a Christian contemplative and writer. Being contemplative refers to what is sacredly obscure or secret, something that is remote from human comprehension. It reflects the search for a deeper spiritual life, for fellowship and oneness with the omniscient, omnipotent God who is also our Father. Guyon wrote from the depth of her own spiritual experiences. Growing up in France during the decadent times of Louis XIV, she was devout at ...Read More

Jeanne Guyon (1648–1717) was a Christian contemplative and writer. Being contemplative refers to what is sacredly obscure or secret, something that is remote from human comprehension. It reflects the search for a deeper spiritual life, for fellowship and oneness with the omniscient, omnipotent God who is also our Father. Guyon wrote from the depth of her own spiritual experiences. Growing up in France during the decadent times of Louis XIV, she was devout at an early age, but was then caught up in the worldliness around her. After an arranged marriage at age fifteen, she became increasingly interested in spiritual things; and, for the rest of her life, she continued to seek God diligently, teach others, and write books on Christian devotion. These books have become Christian classics. Guyon paid a heavy price for her views and her writings. Throughout her life, she underwent various trials, including persecution and imprisonment for her beliefs. Her commentary on Song of Songs was used to sentence her to prison.

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About Pere Lacombe

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