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as transcendent proofs of the supreme favor of Heaven.—Some of the pupils of Marie de l'Incarnation also had mystical marriages with Christ; and the impassioned rhapsodies of one of them being overheard, she nearly lost her character, as it was thought that she was apostrophsizing an earthly lover. 177 Clearly, he

re is a case for the physiologist as well as the theologian; and the "holy wid

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ow," as her biographers call her, becomes an example, and a lamentable one, of the tendency of the erotic principle to ally itself with high religious excitement. But the wings of imagination will tire and droop, the brightest dream-land of contemplative fancy grow dim, and an abnormal tension of the faculties find

its inevitable reaction at last. From a condition of highest exaltation, a mys

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tical heaven of light and glory, the unhappy dreamer fell back to a dreary earth, or rather to an abyss of darkness and misery. Her biographers tell us that she became a prey to dejection, and thoughts of infidelity, despair, estrangement from God, aversion to mankind, pride, vanity, impurity, and a supreme disgust a

t the rites of religion. Exhaustion produced common-sense, and the dreams whic

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h had been her life now seemed a tissue of illusions. Her confessor became a weariness to her, and his words fell dead on her ear. Indeed, she conceived a repugnance to the holy man. Her old and 178 favorite confessor, her oracle, guide, and comforter, had lately been taken from her by promotion in the Church,—which

may serve to explain her dejection; and the new one, jealous of his predecess

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or, told her that all his counsels had been visionary and dangerous to her soul. Having overwhelmed her with this announcement, he left her, apparently out of patience with her refractory and gloomy mood; and she remained for several months deprived of spiritual guidance. [13] Two years elapsed before her mind recove

red its tone, when she soared once more in the seventh heaven of imaginative d


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