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Bible Dictionaries

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary

Quietists

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the disciples of Michael de Molinos, a Spanish priest, who flourished in the seventeenth century, and wrote a book called "The Spiritual Guide." He had many disciples in Spain, Italy, France, and the Netherlands. Some pretend that he borrowed his principles from the Spanish Illuminati; and M. Gregoire will have it that they came originally from the Persian Soofees; while others no less confidently derive them from the Greek Hesycasts. The Quietists, however, deduce their principles from the Scriptures. They argue thus: "The Apostle tells us, that ‘the Spirit makes intercession for' or in ‘us.' Now if the Spirit pray in us, we must resign ourselves to his impulses, by remaining in a state of absolute rest, or quietude, till we attain the perfection of the unitive life," a life of union with, and, as it should seem, of absorption in, the Deity. They contend, that true religion consists in the present calm and tranquillity of a mind removed from all external and finite things, and centered in God; and in such a pure love of the supreme Being, as is independent of all prospect of interest or reward. To prove that our love to the Deity must be disinterested, they allege, that the Lord hath made all things for himself, as saith the Scripture; and it is for his glory that he wills our happiness. To conform, therefore, to the great end of our creation, we must prefer God to ourselves, and not desire our own happiness but for his glory; otherwise we shall go contrary to his order. As the perfections of the Deity are intrinsically amiable, it is our glory and perfection to go out of ourselves, to be lost and absorbed in the pure love of infinite beauty. Madam Guion, a woman of fashion in France, born 1648, becoming pious, was a warm advocate of these principles. She asserted, that the means of arriving at this perfect love, are prayer and the self-denial enjoined in the Gospel. Prayer she defines to be the entire bent of the soul toward its divine origin. Some of her pious canticles were translated by the poet Cowper, and represent her sentiments to the best advantage. Fenelon, the amiable archbishop of Cambray, also favoured these sentiments in his celebrated publication, entitled, "The Maxims of the Saints." The distinguishing tenet in his theology was the doctrine of the disinterested love of God for his own excellencies, independent of his relative benevolence: an important feature also in the system of Madam Guion, who, with the good archbishop, was persecuted by the pope and by Bossuet. See MYSTICS .

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Bibliography Information
Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Quietists'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/wtd/q/quietists.html. 1831-2.

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