“The commencement of the reign of God, and of the passive way, is very highly relished by the soul. The soul passes days, and even years, separated from creature enjoyments without weariness. It advances very much more by this way, in little time, then by all the efforts of many years. It is not without faults and imperfections, but divine love diminishes them little by little, or does not permit the soul to become disturbed by them, lest it become discouraged and its love hindered. This state is called passive love. The soul sees no cause for fear; it supposes that all the work is done, and that it has only to pass into eternity, and to enjoy this good Sovereign, who already gives himself to the soul in so much fullness.
“But in the upward progress of the soul, it becomes no longer doubtful, whether the soul is to remain in the passive enjoyment of God and his communications. The soul begins to feel a drawing, to let God not only be all things to the soul, but there to reign separate from the soul’s enjoyment of his gifts. The soul now experiences what is called, by the author of the Imitation of Christ, the exile of the heart. It hears a voice in the depth of the soul, or rather, has an impression, that God reigns there alone.” ~Madam Guyon
Reign of God
Most of us who believe in God would say that God reigns now and always. But while that is true in general, there is an exception of sorts. That exception is the material universe that we live in. Since this realm was not created by God, but by the fallen angels called the Demiurge by Gnostics, God avoids it to a large degree. This realm is ruled by the Devil or demiurge, but with limits. God will not let him go too far in his nastiness with those he controls but doesn’t stop him completely. God is basically saying that if we choose to embrace the darkness, what the darkness does to us is our own problem. Though as I already said, He won’t let the demons go too far.
Think of it in regard to this allegory. Suppose you are a parent of a teenager. Your child is fascinated by tales of vampires. When he finds out that your new neighbor is a vampire, he starts visiting the place and wants to spend much time with the vampire. You, of course, are worried that one day, the vampire will kill him. So what do you do? Why you tell your child to stay away from the vampire, of course. You don’t threaten the vampire, you warn the child to avoid him. That is what God does with regard to the fallen realm of matter. He tells us to return to His realm of spirit, but few are listening. That is not entirely our fault. As we have sunk deeper and deeper into matter, it becomes harder and harder for us to hear that call from above.
But what Madam Guyon is talking about when she refers to “The commencement of the reign of God,” is that one day this realm will become spirit again and then God will reign here as elsewhere.
Faults and Imperfections
All I can say about this is that Madam Guyon must not be aware that we have two souls. The Mundane soul which is associated with the physical body may indeed become corrupt and is not perfect. On the other hand, the Divine Soul is different. It cannot become corrupt or imperfect because it is, in a genuine sense, a tiny piece of God. It is always perfect. However, if you become seriously corrupt, such as by committing murder, your Divine Soul doesn’t break into pieces that you can then hide as in Harry Potter novels. Instead, it just departs your body complete and intact and returns to heaven without you. You are then a soulless zombie, and you would be amazed at how many people these days are in that condition. And when the reign of God happens, such people will cease to exist.
I’m not sure I would use the term passive love for the state of love the Divine Soul is in. The soul loves unconditionally. It loves all people, all beings, all spirits. I suppose you could say it is passive love because the soul doesn’t have to think about it, it just does it automatically. But that can only happen when you have gone to the trouble of awakening your spirit and soul, that are dormant when we are born into the physical world.
Drawing To God
Guyon says that at some point the soul is no longer satisfied with passive love, but is drawn toward God. This is always true once the soul is awakened, but may seem more active at some times than others. That passive love is really based on a desire of the soul to be like God, to return to God, and to be one with God and one with the All. But this is not a feeling that replaces that passive love. The passive love for all of God’s creation remains. And it remains passive love in the sense that it is always there, always operating, never questioned by the soul? The mind may question passive love, but the soul never does. The mind may refuse to even believe in passive love for all, but the soul always believes, and always just does it. Taking in the Light of the Spiritual Sun and filling ourselves with that passive love is the way to achieve that Oneness with God. Passive love is the key, Spiritual Light is the engine.