On the one hand, God’s demand for perfection need not discourage you in the least in your present attempts to be good, or even in your present failures. Each time you fall He will pick you up again. And He knows perfectly well that your own efforts are never going to bring you anywhere near perfection. On the other hand, you must realize from the outset that the goal towards which He is beginning to guide you is absolute perfection; and no power in the whole universe, except you yourself, can prevent Him from taking you to that goal. That is what you are in for. And it is very important to realize that.

CS Lewis, Mere Christianity


O God of Earth and Altar

O God of earth and altar,

Bow down and hear our cry,

Our earthly rulers falter,

Our people drift and die;

The walls of gold entomb us,

The swords of scorn divide,

Take not thy thunder from us,

But take away our pride.

From all that terror teaches,

From lies of tongue and pen,

From all the easy speeches

That comfort cruel men,

From sale and profanation

Of honour and the sword,

From sleep and from damnation,

Deliver us, good Lord.

Tie in a living tether

The prince and priest and thrall,

Bind all our lives together,

Smite us and save us all;

In ire and exultation

Aflame with faith, and free,

Lift up a living nation,

A single sword to thee.

– G.K. Chesterton

Christ Himself

We preach too much about Christ, instead of preaching Christ Himself. The only religion which is worth anything is that which shows Christ in your life and mine. The most ignorant one, who knows nothing of theology, may illustrate it truly. The soundest theologian, intellectually, may miss the spirit of it. Each must win it by striving, with divine help, for himself.

From a report on a sermon by George MacDonald. The reporter, an American, concluded with: “I risk nothing in ranking the sermon, alike in substance and in spirit, above every other which I have heard on this side the ocean.”

An Animal That Makes Dogmas

“MAN can be defined as an animal that makes dogmas. As he piles doctrine on doctrine and conclusion on conclusion in the formation of some tremendous scheme of philosophy and religion, he is, in the only legitimate sense of which the expression is capable, becoming more and more human. When he drops one doctrine after another in a refined scepticism, when he declines to tie himself to a system, when he says that he has outgrown definitions, when he says that he disbelieves in finality, when, in his own imagination, he sits as God, holding no form of creed but contemplating all, then he is by that very process sinking slowly backwards into the vagueness of the vagrant animals and the unconsciousness of the grass. Trees have no dogmas. Turnips are singularly broad-minded.” …

~G.K. Chesterton: “Heretics,” Ch. XX.

But to Do Right

“There is always some peace in having submitted to the right. Don’t spoil it by worrying about the results, if you can help it. It is not your business to succeed (no one can be sure of that) but to do right: when you have done so, the rest lies with God. . .”

CS Lewis

The Good is Always Coming

Yet I know that good is coming to me – the good is always coming; though few have at all times the simplicity and the courage to believe it. What we call evil, is the only and best shape, which, for the person and his condition at the time, could be assumed by the best good. And so, farewell.

—George MacDonald

Lose not Wonder

“LIFE is not void or stuff for scorners:

We have laughed loud and kept our love,

We have heard singers in tavern corners

And not forgotten the birds above:

We have known smiters and sons of thunder

And not unworthily walked with them,

We have grown wiser and lost not wonder;

And we have seen Jerusalem.”

~G.K. Chesterton: Collected in ‘The Ballad of St. Barbara and Other Verses.’ (1922)