Good Tidings

“His parents found him in the temple; they never really found him until he entered the true temple—their own adoring hearts. The temple that knows not its builder, is no temple; in it dwells no divinity.

But at length he comes to his own, and his own receive him;—comes to them in the might of his mission to preach good tidings to the poor, to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance, and sight, and liberty, and the Lord’s own good time.”

Excerpt From

Hope of the Gospel

George MacDonald

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Some Sign

When I see the blindness and the wretchedness of man, when I regard the whole silent universe and man without light, left to himself and, as it were, lost in this corner of the universe, without knowing who has put him there, what he has come to do, what will become of him at death, and incapable of all knowledge, I become terrified, like a man who should be carried in his sleep to a dreadful desert island and should awake without knowing where he is and without means of escape. And thereupon I wonder how people in a condition so wretched do not fall into despair. I see other persons around me of a like nature. I ask them if they are better informed than I am. They tell me that they are not. And thereupon these wretched and lost beings, having looked around them and seen some pleasing objects, have given and attached themselves to them. For my own part, I have not been able to attach myself to them, and, considering how strongly it appears that there is something else than what I see, I have examined whether this God has not left some sign of Himself.

I see many contradictory religions, and consequently all false save one. Each wants to be believed on its own authority, and threatens unbelievers. I do not therefore believe them. Every one can say this; every one can call himself a prophet.

But I see that Christian religion wherein prophecies are fulfilled; and that is what every one cannot do.

Blaise Pascal

My Heart’s Life

No place on earth henceforth I shall count strange,

For every place belongeth to my Christ.

I will go calm where’er thou bid’st me range;

Whoe’er my neighbour, thou art still my nighest.

Oh my heart’s life, my owner, will of my being!

Into my soul thou every moment diest,

In thee my life thus evermore decreeing.

– George MacDonald

A Strange Hopefulness

Give me, take from me, as thou wilt. I learn—

Slowly and stubbornly I learn to yield

With a strange hopefulness. As from the field

Of hard-fought battle won, the victor chief

Turns thankfully, although his heart do yearn,

So from my old things to thy new I turn,

With sad, thee-trusting heart, and not in grief.

–George MacDonald

Life, and its Majesty…

I felt that something was not right with me, that something was required of me which I was not rendering. I could not, however, have told you what it was. Possibly the feeling had been for some time growing; but that day, so far as I can tell, I was first aware of it; and I presume it was the dim cause of my turning at the sound of a few singing voices, and entering that chapel.

I found about a dozen people present. Something in the air of the place, meagre and waste as it looked, yet induced me to remain. An address followed from a pale-faced, weak-looking man of middle age, who had no gift of person, voice, or utterance, to recommend what he said. But there dwelt a more powerful enforcement in him than any of those,–that of earnestness.

I went again, and again; and slowly, I cannot well explain how, the sense of life and its majesty grew upon me. Mr. Walton will, I trust, understand me when I say, that to one hungering for bread, it is of little consequence in what sort of platter it is handed him. This was a dissenting chapel,–of what order, it was long before I knew,–and my predilection was for the Church-services, those to which my father had accustomed me; but any comparison of the two to the prejudice of either, I should still–although a communicant of the Church of England–regard with absolute indifference. “It will be sufficient for my present purpose to allude to the one practical thought which was the main fruit I gathered from this good man,–the fruit by which I know that he was good.

[Footnote: Something like this is the interpretation of the word: “By their fruits ye shall know them” given by Mr. Maurice,–an interpretation which opens much.–G.M.D.]

It was this,–that if all the labor of God, as my teacher said, was to bring sons into glory, lifting them out of the abyss of evil bondage up to the rock of his pure freedom, the only worthy end of life must be to work in the same direction,–to be a fellow-worker with God. Might I not, then, do something such, in my small way, and lose no jot of my labor? I thought. The urging, the hope, grew in me. But I was not left to feel blindly after some new and unknown method of labor.

My teacher taught me that the way for me to help others was not to tell them their duty, but myself to learn of Him who bore our griefs and carried our sorrows. As I learned of him, I should be able to help them. I have never had any theory but just to be their friend,–to do for them the best I can. When I feel I may, I tell them what has done me good, but I never urge any belief of mine upon their acceptance.

George MacDonald

The Vicar’s Daughter, Chapter Nineteen

Reparagraphed

Words of God

All created things are words of God, light, darkness, water, fire, the smallness of children, the friendship of animals, science, rhythm, poetry, music, art, the tenderness of mothers, the ardor of lovers. Above our heads, under our feet, within our hearts, words of God whisper and laugh and sing one thing: ‘See how I love you!’

–Caryll Houselander

He Always Knew

God has not been trying an experiment on my faith or love in order to find out their quality. He knew it already. It was I who didn’t. In this trial He makes us occupy the dock, the witness box, and the bench all at once.”

“He always knew that my temple was a house of cards. His only way of making me realize the fact was to knock it down.

― C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed