Then is the Man Free

“…Here, even at this early point in his history, what I might call his fourth birth may begin to take place: I mean the birth in him of the Will—the real Will—not the pseudo-will, which is the mere Desire, swayed of impulse, selfishness, or one of many a miserable motive.

When the man, listening to his conscience, wills and does the right, irrespective of inclination as of consequence, then is the man free, the universe open before him. He is born from above.

To him conscience needs never speak aloud, needs never speak twice; to him her voice never grows less powerful, for he never neglects what she commands. And when he becomes aware that he can will his will, that God has given him a share in essential life, in the causation of his own being, then is he a man indeed.”

Excerpt From

The Complete Works of George MacDonald (Illustrated Edition)

George MacDonald

This material may be protected by copyright.


The Acknowledgement of Wrong

She never said she was sorry, but she tried to make up for it. Her husband had not taught her the virtue both for relief and purification that lies in the acknowledgement of wrong. To take up blame that is our own, is to wither the very root of it.

— George MacDonald, Paul Faber, Surgeon

Perfect in Love

“God and Jesus and all of us that love Him, if indeed we love Him, may be made perfect in one; that is, there shall be no difference between God and us . . . This is not Theology, it is life, it is a thing that is essential to our very existence; you, not seeing it, may reject is as Theology, and dispute it. I do not care to prove it to anybody that cannot see it, it could not be proved . . .We cannot reach the Divine idea . . until we fall in with God’s plan . . . by becoming such as He in our love towards God, and our love towards our neighbour.”

God Suffers With His Creatures

“They killed him, you know, my lady, in a terrible way that one is afraid even to think of. But he insisted that he laid down his life; that he allowed them to take it. Now I ask whether that grandest thing, crowning his life, the yielding of it to the hand of violence, he had not learned also from his Father. Was his death the only thing he had not so learned? If I am right, and I do not say if in doubt, then the suffering of those terrible three hours was a type of the suffering of the Father himself in bringing sons and daughters through the cleansing and glorifying fires, without which the created cannot be made the very children of God, partakers of the divine nature and peace. Then from the lowest, weakest tone of suffering, up to the loftiest pitch, the divinest acme of pain, there is not one pang to which the sensorium of the universe does not respond; never an untuneful vibration of nerve or spirit that thrills beyond the brain or the heart of the sufferer to the brain, the heart of the universe; and God, in the simplest, most literal, fullest sense, and not by sympathy alone, suffers with his creatures.”

—George MacDonald, ‘The Marquis of Lossie.’

On and On

“With all the reminders of death we have about us, not one of us feels as if he were going to die. We think of other people … dying, and it always seems we are going to be alive when they die; and why? Just because we are not going to die. This thinking part in us feels no symptom of ceasing to be. We think on and on, and death seems far from us, for it belongs only to our bodies–not to us. So the soul forgets it. It is no part of religion to think about death. It is the part of religion, when the fact and thought of death come in, to remind us that we live for ever, and that God, who sent His Son to die, will help us through that fearful strait that lies before us, and which often grows so terrible to those who fix their gaze upon it.”

—From George MacDonald’s ‘Guild Court’

Into the Unknown

“On either hand we behold a birth, of which, as of the moon, we see but half. We are outside the one, waiting for a life from the unknown; we are inside the other, watching the departure of a spirit from the womb of the world into the unknown. To the region whither he goes, the man enters newly born. We forget that it is a birth, and call it a death. The body he leaves behind is but the placenta by which he drew his nourishment from his mother Earth. And as the child-bed is watched on earth with anxious expectancy, so the couch of the dying, as we call them, may be surrounded by the birth-watchers of the other world, waiting like anxious servants to open the door to which this world is but the wind-blown porch.”

— George MacDonald, Robert Falconer

Smoke of the Sacrifice

‘Eh, Robert! The patience of him! (Jesus) He didn’t quench the smoking flax. There’s little fire about me, but surely I know in my own heart some of the rising smoke of the sacrifice. Eh! such words as they are! And he was going down to the grave himself, not half my age, as peaceful, though the road was so rough, as if he had been going home to his father.’ ‘So he was,’ returned Robert.

—George MacDonald, Robert Falconer