Bourignon, Antoinette, a gifted and pious, but eccentric, mystic of the seventeenth century, was born January 13, 1616. She became fascinated at an early age with books of devotion and with a life of celibacy. She twice fled from home to escape marriage, into which relation her parents wished her to enter. Her father died in 1648, leaving her possessed of considerable wealth. Wishing to do good with her worldly means, she took charge of a foundling hospital in 1653. She joined the order of Augustines in 1667. She attracted great attention by her tracts and discourses. Renouncing Roman Catholicism, she declared herself divinely called to found a new and pure communion. She became an object of persecution, and fled from place to place. She died at Franeker, in Friesland, October 30, 1680. Her works were published in nineteen volumes in 1686. One of her works, The Light of the World, was translated into English, and met with such a large sale and was of such influence in Great Britain that at one time all the candidates for the Presbyterian ministry were required to disavow all belief in or sympathy with |Bourignonism.| The fact that for twenty years she boasted that she had not read a word of the Holy Scripture shows the erratic character of her piety. But by John Wesley's (or possibly John Byrom's?) rare power of translation we have from her a most useful hymn, which was written in 1640, at the time when she renounced the world for a religious life.
Come, Saviour Jesus, from above 379