Human Weaknesses

“What I think I ought to do, my lord, I do without bargaining. I am not sorry I threw you from your horse, and to say so would be to lie.”

“Of course everybody thinks himself in the right!” said his lordship with a small sneer.

“It does not follow that no one is ever in the right!” returned Donal. “Does your lordship think you were in the right—either towards me or the poor animal who could not obey you because he was in torture?”

“I don’t say I do.”

“Then everybody does not think himself in the right! I take your lordship’s admission as an apology.”

“By no means: when I make an apology, I will do it; I will not sneak out of it.”

He was evidently at strife with himself: he knew he was wrong, but could not yet bring himself to say so. It is one of the poorest of human weaknesses that a man should be ashamed of saying he has done wrong, instead of so ashamed of having done wrong that he cannot rest till he has said so; for the shame cleaves fast until the confession removes it.

Excerpt From

Donal Grant, by George MacDonald

George MacDonald

https://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewBook?id=498702854

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“There is a doctrine uttered in secret that man is a prisoner who has no right to open the door of his prison and run away; this is a great mystery which I do not quite understand. Yet I, too, believe that the gods are our guardians, and that we are a possession of theirs. Do you not agree ?”

—from PHAEDRUS by Socrates

It has been said that, after the Bible, Plato’s dialogues are the most influential books in Western culture. Of the dialogues, the Symposium is the most delightful and accessible, requiring no special knowledge of ancient Greek philosophy or customs. Dramatizing a party in fifth-century B.C. Athens, the deceptively unassuming Symposium introduces—in the guise of convivial after-dinner conversation—profound ideas about the nature of love. In Phaedrus, here published together with the Symposium, Plato discusses the place of eloquence in expounding truth. In both dialogues, Socrates plays the leading role, by turns teasing, arguing, analyzing, joking, inspiring, and cajoling his followers into understanding ideas that have remained central to Western thought through the centuries. READ more here: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/131792/symposium-and-phaedrus-by-plato/

Understand the Shadow

“There, sir!” he said; “that is the place: do tell me what it means.”

“I will try,” answered Donal; “I may not be able.”

He began to read at the top of the page.

“That’s not the place, sir!” said the boy. “It is there.”

“I must know something of what goes before it first,” returned Donal.

“Oh, yes, sir; I see!” he answered, and stood silent.

He was a fair-haired boy, with ruddy cheeks and a healthy look—sweet-tempered evidently.

Donal presently saw both what the sentence meant and the cause of his difficulty. He explained the thing to him.

“Thank you! thank you! Now I shall get on!” he cried, and ran up the hill.

“You seem to understand boys!” said the brother.

“I have always had a sort of ambition to understand ignorance.”

“Understand ignorance?”

“You know what queer shapes the shadows of the plainest things take: I never seem to understand any thing till I understand its shadow.”

The youth glanced keenly at Donal.

“I wish I had had a tutor like you!” he said.

Excerpt From

Donal Grant, by George MacDonald

George MacDonald

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/donal-grant-by-george-macdonald/id498702854?mt=11

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A Place Called Heaven

“There is a place called ‘heaven’ where the good here unfinished is completed; and where the stories unwritten, and the hopes unfulfilled, are continued. We may laugh together yet.”

― J.R.R. Tolkien

From a letter to Michael Tolkien, his son.

[Michael was now an Officer Cadet at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst.]

9 June 1941 20 Northmoor Road, Oxford

(Thank you Tom, for sharing.)

The Instrument

When you come to knowing God, the initiative lies on His side. If He does not show Himself, nothing you can do will enable you to find Him. And, in fact, He shows much more of Himself to some people than to others — not because He has favorites, but because it is impossible for Him to show Himself to a man whose whole mind and character are in the wrong condition. Just as sunlight, though it has no favorites, cannot be reflected in a dusty mirror as clearly as in a clean one.

You can put this another way by saying that while in other sciences the instruments you use are things external to yourself (things like microscopes and telescopes), the instrument through which you see God is your whole self. And if a man’s self is not kept clean and bright, his glimpse of God will be blurred — like the Moon seen through a dirty telescope.

–CS Lewis, Mere Christianity

Strength Inexhaustible

The man has begun to be strong who knows that, separated from life essential, he is weakness itself, that, one with his origin, he will be of strength inexhaustible. Donal was now descending the heights of youth to walk along the king’s highroad of manhood: happy he who, as his sun is going down behind the western, is himself ascending the eastern hill, returning through old age to the second and better childhood which shall not be taken from him! He who turns his back on the setting sun goes to meet the rising sun; he who loses his life shall find it. Donal had lost his past—but not so as to be ashamed. There are many ways of losing! His past had but crept, like the dead, back to God who gave it; in better shape it would be his by and by! Already he had begun to foreshadow this truth: God would keep it for him.

Excerpt From

Donal Grant, by George MacDonald

George MacDonald

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/donal-grant-by-george-macdonald/id498702854?mt=11

The Man Has Begun to Be Strong

In every stream he came to he bathed his feet, and often on the way rested them, when otherwise able enough to go on. He had no certain goal, though he knew his direction, and was in no haste. He had confidence in God and in his own powers as the gift of God, and knew that wherever he went he needed not be hungry long, even should the little money in his pocket be spent.

It is better to trust in work than in money: God never buys anything, and is for ever at work; but if any one trust in work, he has to learn that he must trust in nothing but strength—the self-existent, original strength only; and Donal Grant had long begun to learn that. The man has begun to be strong who knows that, separated from life essential, he is weakness itself, that, one with his origin, he will be of strength inexhaustible.

–George MacDonald, Donal Grant