“It is this fear of want that makes men do mean things. They are afraid to part with their precious lord–Mammon. He gives no safety against such a fear.”

–George MacDonald, Annals of a Quiet Neighborhood, XI

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The Undertaking

I have done one braver thing
Than all the Worthies did,
And yet a braver thence doth spring,
Which is, to keep that hid.

It were but madness now t’impart
The skill of specular stone,
When he which can have learn’d the art
To cut it, can find none.

So, if I now should utter this,
Others (because no more
Such stuff to work upon, there is,)
Would love but as before.

But he who loveliness within
Hath found, all outward loathes,
For he who colour loves, and skin,
Loves but their oldest clothes.

If, as I have, you also do
Virtue attir’d in woman see,
And dare love that, and say so too,
And forget the He and She;

And if this love, though placed so,
From profane men you hide,
Which will no faith on this bestow,
Or, if they do, deride:

Then you have done a braver thing
Than all the Worthies did;
And a braver thence will spring,
Which is, to keep that hid.

 

-John Donne

10/22/DOS

Against my fears, my doubts, my ignorance,

I trust in thee, O father of my Lord!

The world went on in this same broken dance,

When, worn and mocked, he trusted and adored:

I too will trust, and gather my poor best

To face the truth-faced false. So in his nest

I shall awake at length, a little scarred and scored. —

–George MacDonald

Look for the Lovely Will

“She kneeled beside him,

“Mary,” he said again, taking her little hand in his two long, bony ones, “I love you, my child, to that degree I can not say; and I want you, I do want you, to be a Christian.”

“So do I, father dear,” answered Mary simply, the tears rushing into her eyes at the thought that perhaps she was not one; “I want me to be a Christian.”

“Yes, my love,” he went on; “but it is not that I do not think you a Christian; it is that I want you to be a downright real Christian, not one that is but trying to feel as a Christian ought to feel. I have lost so much precious time in that way!”

“Tell me—tell me,” cried Mary, clasping her other hand over his. “What would you have me do?”

“I will tell you. I am just trying how,” he responded.

“A Christian is just one that does what the Lord Jesus tells him. Neither more nor less than that makes a Christian.”

“It is not even understanding the Lord Jesus that makes one a Christian. That makes one dear to the Father; but it is being a Christian, that is, doing what he tells us, that makes us understand him. Peter says the Holy Spirit is given to them that obey him: what else is that but just actually, really, doing what he says—just as if I was to tell you to go and fetch me my Bible, and you would get up and go? Did you ever do anything, my child, just because Jesus told you to do it?”

 

“…It is a miserable thing to hear those who desire to believe themselves Christians, talking and talking about this question and that, the discussion of which is all for strife and nowise for unity—not a thought among them of the one command of Christ, to love one another. I fear some are hardly content with not hating those who differ from them.”

“I am sure, father, I try—and I think I do love everybody that loves him,” said Mary.

“Well, that is much—not enough though, my child. We must be like Jesus, and you know that it was while we were yet sinners that Christ died for us; therefore we must love all men, whether they are Christians or not.”

“Tell me, then, what you want me to do, father dear. I will do whatever you tell me.”

“I want you to be just like that to the Lord Christ, Mary. I want you to look out for his will, and find it, and do it. I want you not only to do it, though that is the main thing, when you think of it, but to look for it, that you may do it.

“I need not say to you that this is not a thing to be talked about much, for you don’t do that. You may think me very silent, my love; but I do not talk always when I am inclined, for the fear I might let my feeling out that way, instead of doing something he wants of me with it. And how repulsive and full of offense those generally are who talk most! Our strength ought to go into conduct, not into talk—least of all, into talk about what they call the doctrines of the gospel. The man who does what God tells him, sits at his Father’s feet, and looks up in his Father’s face; and men had better leave him alone, for he can not greatly mistake his Father, and certainly will not displease him.

Look for the lovely will, my child, that you may be its servant, its priest, its sister, its queen, its slave—as Paul calls himself.

How that man did glory in his Master!”

 

On Time

Fly envious Time, till thou run out thy race,

Call on the lazy leaden-stepping hours,

Whose speed is but the heavy Plummets pace;

And glut thy self with what thy womb devours,

Which is no more then what is false and vain,

And meerly mortal dross;

So little is our loss,

So little is thy gain.

For when as each thing bad thou hast entomb’d,

And last of all, thy greedy self consum’d,

Then long Eternity shall greet our bliss

With an individual kiss;

And Joy shall overtake us as a flood,

When every thing that is sincerely good

And perfectly divine,

With Truth, and Peace, and Love shall ever shine

About the supreme Throne

Of him, t’whose happy-making sight alone,

When once our heav’nly-guided soul shall clime,

Then all this Earthy grosnes quit,

Attir’d with Stars, we shall for ever sit,

Triumphing over Death, and Chance, and thee O Time.

–John Milton, 1608 – 1674

On Reading, with GKC

THE highest use of the great masters of literature is not literary; it is apart from their superb style and even from their emotional inspiration. The first use of good literature is that it prevents a man from being merely modern. To be merely modern is to condemn oneself to an ultimate narrowness; just as to spend one’s last earthly money on the newest hat is to condemn oneself to the old-fashioned. The road of the ancient centuries is strewn with dead moderns. Literature, classic and enduring literature, does its best work in reminding us perpetually of the whole round of truth and balancing other and older ideas against the ideas to which we might for a moment be prone. The way in which it does this, however, is sufficiently curious to be worth our fully understanding it to begin with.

http://gkcdaily.blogspot.com/2014/01/on-reading_9.html?m=1