Being Such

“Does she never try to teach them any thing, Ethel?” “She is constantly teaching them, whether she tries or not,” I answered. “If you can make any one believe that there is something somewhere to be trusted, is not that the best lesson you can give him? That can be taught only by being such that people cannot but trust you.”

George MacDonald, The Vicar’s Daughter

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By All Your Actions

TO MISS GLADDING

59 Magdalen College, Oxford.

June 7th 1945

Dear Miss Gladding I am afraid I don’t know any books more elementary than my own wh. wd. help. The truth is that when a person (not herself v. bookish or philosophical) has lost faith under so v. great and bewildering a trial, no intellectual approach is likely to avail. But where people can resist and ignore arguments they may be unable to resist lives. I am afraid, my dear lady, the only hope lies in you and in any other Xtian friends she has. It is in so far as you succeed in representing Christ to her by all your actions and words that she may, even unconsciously, come to know Him. This is a terrible thing to say to you, but He will make you able to be what you need to be.

CS Lewis

Thou

Thou art my knowledge and my memory,

No less than my real, deeper life, my love.

I will not fool, degrade myself to trust

In less than that which maketh me say Me,

In less than that causing itself to be.

Then art within me, behind, beneath, above—

I will be thine because I may and must.

Thou art the truth, the life. Thou, Lord, wilt see

To every question that perplexes me.

I am thy being; and my dignity

Is written with my name down in thy book;

Thou wilt care for it. Never shall I think

Of anything that thou mightst overlook:—

In faith-born triumph at thy feet I sink.

Thou carest more for that which I call mine,

In same sort—better manner than I could,

Even if I knew creation’s ends divine,

Rousing in me this vague desire of good.

Thou art more to me than my desires’ whole brood;

Thou art the only person, and I cry

Unto the father I of this my I.

Thou who inspirest prayer, then bend’st thine ear;

It, crying with love’s grand respect to hear!

I cannot give myself to thee aright—

With the triumphant uttermost of gift;

That cannot be till I am full of light—

To perfect deed a perfect will must lift:—

Inspire, possess, compel me, first of every might.

– George MacDonald, Diary of an Old Soul

Exposition of Psalm 95 with Paul

Exposition of Psalm 95: Hearing God’s Word in Faith

Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says,

Oh, that today you would listen as he speaks!

Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, in the day of testing in the wilderness.

There your fathers tested me and tried me, and they saw my works for forty years.

Therefore, I became provoked at that generation and said, Their hearts are always wandering and they have not known my ways.’

As I swore in my anger, They will never enter my rest!’”

See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has an evil, unbelieving heart that forsakes the living God. But exhort one another each day, as long as it is called “Today,” that none of you may become hardened by sin’s deception. For we have become partners with Christ, if in fact we hold our initial confidence firm until the end. As it says,

Oh, that today you would listen as he speaks! Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”

For which ones heard and rebelled? Was it not all who came out of Egypt under Moses’ leadership? And against whom was God provoked for forty years? Was it not those who sinned, whose dead bodies fell in the wilderness? And to whom did he swear they would never enter into his rest, except those who were disobedient?  So we see that they could not enter because of unbelief.

Walk

Remember He is the artist and you are only the picture. You can’t see it. So quietly submit to be painted—i.e., keep fulfilling all the obvious duties of your station (you really know quite well enough what they are!), asking forgiveness for each failure and then leaving it alone. You are in the right way. Walk—don’t keep on looking at it.

–CS Lewis, Collected Letters

Hymn to God, My God, in My Sickness, John Donne

Since I am coming to that holy room,

         Where, with thy choir of saints for evermore,

I shall be made thy music; as I come

         I tune the instrument here at the door,

         And what I must do then, think here before. 

Whilst my physicians by their love are grown

         Cosmographers, and I their map, who lie

Flat on this bed, that by them may be shown

         That this is my south-west discovery, 

      Per fretum febris, by these straits to die, 

I joy, that in these straits I see my west;

         For, though their currents yield return to none,

What shall my west hurt me? As west and east

         In all flat maps (and I am one) are one,

         So death doth touch the resurrection.

Is the Pacific Sea my home? Or are

         The eastern riches? Is Jerusalem?

Anyan, and Magellan, and Gibraltar,

         All straits, and none but straits, are ways to them,

         Whether where Japhet dwelt, or Cham, or Shem. 

We think that Paradise and Calvary, 

         Christ’s cross, and Adam’s tree, stood in one place; 

Look, Lord, and find both Adams met in me; 

         As the first Adam’s sweat surrounds my face, 

         May the last Adam’s blood my soul embrace. 

So, in his purple wrapp’d, receive me, Lord; 

         By these his thorns, give me his other crown; 

And as to others’ souls I preach’d thy word, 

         Be this my text, my sermon to mine own: 

“Therefore that he may raise, the Lord throws down.”

John Donne

A Living Sacrifice

A vision of sonship in our Lord:

“The last act of our Lord in thus commending his spirit at the close of his life, was only a summing up of what he had been doing all his life. He had been offering this sacrifice, the sacrifice of himself, all the years, and in thus sacrificing he had lived the divine life. Every morning when he went out ere it was day, every evening when he lingered on the night-lapt mountain after his friends were gone, he was offering himself to his Father in the communion of loving words, of high thoughts, of speechless feelings; and, between, he turned to do the same thing in deed, namely, in loving word, in helping thought, in healing action towards his fellows; for the way to worship God while the daylight lasts is to work; the service of God, the only “divine service,” is the helping of our fellows.”

– George MacDonald, Unspoken Sermons, The Eloi

A vision of discipleship, and the path to the healing of the hearts of men:

“Troubled soul, thou art not bound to feel, but thou art bound to arise. God loves thee whether thou feelest or not. Thou canst not love when thou wilt, but thou art bound to fight the hatred in thee to the last. Try not to feel good when thou art not good, but cry to Him who is good. He changes not because thou changest. Nay, he has an especial tenderness of love towards thee for that thou art in the dark and hast no light, and his heart is glad when thou dost arise and say, “I will go to my Father.” For he sees thee through all the gloom through which thou canst not see him. Will thou his will. Say to him: “My God, I am very dull and low and hard; but thou art wise and high and tender, and thou art my God. I am thy child. Forsake me not.” Then fold the arms of thy faith, and wait in quietness until light goes up in thy darkness. Fold the arms of thy Faith I say, but not of thy Action: bethink thee of something that thou oughtest to do, and go and do it, if it be but the sweeping of a room, or the preparing of a meal, or a visit to a friend. Heed not thy feelings: Do thy work.”

– George MacDonald, Unspoken Sermons, The Hands of the Father

 

 

“Rise; take up thy bed, and walk.” (John 5:8)