Travel Light

Painting by Teun Hocks

Possessions are only the traveling luggage of time; they are not the stuff of eternity. It would be sensible therefore to travel light.

~ John Stott

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Most Precious Thing

I would rather be what God chose to make me than the most glorious creature that I could think of; for to have been thought about, born in God’s thought, and then made by God, is the dearest, grandest and most precious thing in all thinking.

–George MacDonald, David Elginbrod

Great Joy

“Many of the most brilliant intellects of our time have urged us to the same self-conscious snatching at a rare delight. Walter Pater said that we were all under sentence of death, and the only course was to enjoy exquisite moments simply for those moments’ sake…. It is the carpe diem religion; but the carpe diem religion is not the religion of happy people, but of very unhappy people. Great joy does not gather the rosebuds while it may; its eyes are fixed on the immortal rose which Dante saw. Great joy has in it the sense of immortality; the very splendour of youth is the sense that it has all space to stretch its legs in. In all great comic literature, in “Tristram Shandy” or “Pickwick”, there is this sense of space and incorruptibility; we feel the characters are deathless people in an endless tale.

It is true enough, of course, that a pungent happiness comes chiefly in certain passing moments; but it is not true that we should think of them as passing, or enjoy them simply “for those moments’ sake.” To do this is to rationalize the happiness, and therefore to destroy it. Happiness is a mystery like religion, and should never be rationalized. Suppose a man experiences a really splendid moment of pleasure. I do not mean something connected with a bit of enamel, I mean something with a violent happiness in it–an almost painful happiness. A man may have, for instance, a moment of ecstasy in first love, or a moment of victory in battle. The lover enjoys the moment, but precisely not for the moment’s sake. He enjoys it for the woman’s sake, or his own sake. The warrior enjoys the moment, but not for the sake of the moment; he enjoys it for the sake of the flag. The cause which the flag stands for may be foolish and fleeting; the love may be calf-love, and last a week. But the patriot thinks of the flag as eternal; the lover thinks of his love as something that cannot end. These moments are filled with eternity; these moments are joyful because they do not seem momentary. Once look at them as moments after Pater’s manner, and they become as cold as Pater and his style. Man cannot love mortal things. He can only love immortal things for an instant.”

GK Chesterton, Heretics

World Unfinished

“God left the world unfinished for man to work his skill upon. He left the electricity still in the cloud, the oil still in the earth. How often we look upon God as our last and feeblest resource. We go to Him because we have nowhere else to go. And then we learn that the storms of life have driven us, not upon the rocks, but into the desired haven.”

–George MacDonald

Truths Ancient and Simple

The process of living seems to consist in coming to realise truths so ancient and simple that, if stated, the sound like barren platitudes. They cannot sound otherwise to those who have not had the relevant experience: that is why there is no real teaching of such truths possible and every generation starts from scratch.

CS Lewis

Authority and Liberty

In short, the case for a sort of general guidance from the start is to be found in the fact that the road is beset with traps and temptations to the loss of liberty. There are not only pitfalls, but bottomless pits; there are not only mazes, but mazes without a center. That is why I, for one, believe in the philosophy of providing a map of the road, with all the blind alleys and broken roads marked on it from the first. But that is not in order that men should not be free to walk the roads, but rather that they should walk the roads on which they will remain free. And until this distinction is understood the modern debate about authority and liberty will not have ended, for it will not even have begun.

Chesterton – September 15, 1923