On the Mind

In the midst of prosperity the mind is elated; and in prosperity a man forgets himself. In hardship, he is forced to reflect on himself; even though he be unwilling.

–King Alfred

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Then He Comes in

When we think Christ, Christ comes; when we receive his image into our spiritual mirror, he enters with it. Our thought is not cut off from his. Our open receiving thought is his door to come in. When our hearts turn to him, that is opening the door to him, that is holding up our mirror to him; then he comes in, not by our thought only, not in our idea only, but he comes himself, and of his own will–comes in as we could not take him, but as he can come and we receive him–enabled to receive by his very coming the one welcome guest of the whole universe.

George MacDonald, Mirrors of the Lord

On Evil Deeds, Blessings, and the Correlation of Souls, With George

Alas for Scotland that such families are now to seek! Would that the parliaments of our country held such a proportion of noble-minded men as was once to be found in the clay huts on a hill-side, or grouped about a central farm, huts whose wretched look would move the pity of many a man as inferior to their occupants as a King Charles’s lap-dog is to a shepherd’s colley. The utensils of their life were mean enough: the life itself was often elixir vitae—a true family life, looking up to the high, divine life. But well for the world that such life has been scattered over it, east and west, the seed of fresh growth in new lands. Out of offence to the individual, God brings good to the whole; for he pets no nation, but trains it for the perfect globular life of all nations—of his world—of his universe. As he makes families mingle, to redeem each from its family selfishness, so will he make nations mingle, and love and correct and reform and develop each other, till the planet-world shall go singing through space one harmony to the God of the whole earth. The excellence must vanish from one portion, that it may be diffused through the whole. The seed ripens on one favoured mound, and is scattered over the plain. We console ourselves with the higher thought, that if Scotland is worse, the world is better. Yea, even they by whom the offence came, and who have first to reap the woe of that offence, because they did the will of God to satisfy their own avarice in laying land to land and house to house, shall not reap their punishment in having their own will, and standing therefore alone in the earth when the good of their evil deeds returns upon it; but the tears of men that ascended to heaven in the heat of their burning dwellings shall descend in the dew of blessing even on the hearts of them that kindled the fire.—”Something too much of this.”

-George MacDonald, Robert Falconer

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Fill Me With Thyself

‘Lord, come to me,’ he cried in his heart, ‘for I cannot go to thee. If I were to go up and up through that awful space for ages and ages, I should never find thee. Yet there thou art. The tenderness of thy infinitude looks upon me from those heavens. Thou art in them and in me. Because thou thinkest, I think. I am thine–all thine. I abandon myself to thee. Fill me with thyself. When I am full of thee, my griefs themselves will grow golden in thy sunlight. Thou holdest them and their cause, and wilt find some nobler atonement between them than vile forgetfulness and the death of love. Lord, let me help those that are wretched because they do not know thee. Let me tell them that thou, the Life, must needs suffer for and with them, that they may be partakers of thy ineffable peace. My life is hid in thine: take me in thy hand as Gideon bore the pitcher to the battle. Let me be broken if need be, that thy light may shine upon the lies which men tell them in thy name, and which eat away their hearts.’

–George MacDonald, Robert Falconer

Better Things

Better to smell a violet,

Than sip the careless wine;

Better to list one music tone,

Than watch the jewels’ shine.

Better to have the love of one,

Than smiles like morning dew;

Better to have a living seed

Than flowers of every hue.

Better to feel a love within,

Than be lovely to the sight;

Better a homely tenderness

Than beauty’s wild delight.

Better to love than be beloved.

Though lonely all the day;

Better the fountain in the heart,

Than the fountain by the way.

Better a feeble love to God,

Than for woman’s love to pine;

Better to have the making God

Than the woman made divine.

Better be fed by mother’s hand,

Than eat alone at will;

Better to trust in God, than say:

My goods my storehouse fill.

Better to be a little wise

Than learned overmuch;

Better than high are lowly thoughts,

For truthful thoughts are such.

Better than thrill a listening crowd,

Sit at a wise man’s feet;

But better teach a child, than toil

To make thyself complete.

Better to walk the realm unseen,

Than watch the hour’s event;

Better the smile of God alway,

Than the voice of men’s consent.

Better to have a quiet grief

Than a tumultuous joy;

Better than manhood, age’s face,

If the heart be of a boy.

Better the thanks of one dear heart,

Than a nation’s voice of praise;

Better the twilight ere the dawn,

Than yesterday’s mid-blaze.

Better a death when work is done,

Than earth’s most favoured birth;

Better a child in God’s great house

Than the king of all the earth.

–George MacDonald

Victor Hugo, on Love

You can give without loving, but you can never love without giving. The great acts of love are done by those who are habitually performing small acts of kindness. We pardon to the extent that we love. Love is knowing that even when you are alone, you will never be lonely again. The great happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved. Loved for ourselves. & even loved in spite of ourselves.

– Victor Hugo, Les Misérables