The First, the One

When I can no more stir my soul to move

And life is but the ashes of a fire;

When I can but remember that my heart

Once used to live and love, long and aspire-

Oh be thou then the first, the one thou art;

Be thou the calling, before all answering love,

And in me wake hope, fear, boundless desire.

— George MacDonald, The Diary of an Old Soul

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Thy Presence

“I AM a little weary of my life—

Not thy life, blessed Father! Or the blood

Too slowly laves the coral shores of thought,

Or I am weary of weariness and strife.

Open my soul-gates to thy living flood;

I ask not larger heart-throbs, vigour-fraught,

I pray thy presence, with strong patience rife.”

~George MacDonald

Beth-el

Too eager I must not be to understand.

How should the work the master goes about

Fit the vague sketch my compasses have planned?

I am his house—for him to go in and out.

He builds me now—and if I cannot see

At any time what he is doing with me,

‘Tis that he makes the house for me too grand.

—George MacDonald

I May Not Fondle Failing

“Only no word of mine must ever foster

The self that in a brother’s bosom gnaws;

I may not fondle failing, nor the boaster

Encourage with the breath of my applause.

Weakness needs pity, sometimes love’s rebuke;

Strength only sympathy deserves and draws—

And grows by every faithful loving look.

Tis but as men draw nigh to thee, my Lord,

They can draw nigh each other and not hurt.

Who with the gospel of thy peace are girt,

The belt from which doth hang the Spirit’s sword,

Shall breathe on dead bones, and the bones shall live,

Sweet poison to the evil self shall give,

And, clean themselves, lift men clean from the mire abhorred.

Excerpt From

A Book of Strife in the Form of The Diary of an Old Soul

George MacDonald

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/a-book-of-strife-in-the-form-of-the-diary-of-an-old-soul/id499797732?mt=11

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I Look to Thee

My God, I look to thee for tenderness

Such as I could not seek from any man,

Or in a human heart fancy or plan—

A something deepest prayer will not express:

Lord, with thy breath blow on my being’s fires,

Until, even to the soul with self-love wan,

I yield the primal love, that no return desires.

—George MacDonald, The Diary of an Old Soul

Thou Knowest All

THOU art of this world, Christ. Thou know’st it all;
Thou know’st our evens, our morns, our red and gray;
How moons, and hearts, and seasons rise and fall;
How we grow weary plodding on the way;
Of future joy how present pain bereaves,
Rounding us with a dark of mere decay,
Tossed with a drift Of summer-fallen leaves.

Thou knowest all our weeping, fainting, striving;
Thou know’st how very hard it is to be;
How hard to rouse faint will not yet reviving;
To do the pure thing, trusting all to thee;
To hold thou art there, for all no face we see;
How hard to think, through cold and dark and dearth,
That thou art nearer now than when eye-seen on earth.

Have pity on us for the look of things,
When blank denial stares us in the face.
Although the serpent mask have lied before,
It fascinates the bird that darkling sings,
And numbs the little prayer-bird’s beating wings.
For how believe thee somewhere in blank space,
If through the darkness come no knocking to our door?

If we might sit until the darkness go,
Possess our souls in patience perhaps we might;
But there is always something to be done,
And no heart left to do it. To and fro
The dull thought surges, as the driven waves fight
In gulfy channels. Oh! victorious one,
Give strength to rise, go out, and meet thee in the night.

Wake, thou that sleepest; rise up from the dead,
And Christ will give thee light.” I do not know
What sleep is, what is death, or what is light;
But I am waked enough to feel a woe,
To rise and leave death. Stumbling through the night,
To my dim lattice, O calling Christ! I go,
And out into the dark look for thy star-crowned head.

– George MacDonald.

“A Book of Strife in the Form of The Diary of an Old Soul.”

iBooks. https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/a-book-of-strife-in-the-form-of-the-diary-of-an-old-soul/id499797732?mt=11

A Waking Joy

Is it because it is not thou I see,

But only my poor, blotted fancy of thee?

Oh! never till thyself reveal thy face,

Shall I be flooded with life’s vital grace.

Oh make my mirror-heart thy shining-place,

And then my soul, awaking with the morn,

Shall be a waking joy, eternally new-born.

— George MacDonald