Self-government for Men

The things we vote on are very seldom the things we see and smell and eat and drink and do. These are more and more controlled by vast and vague central forces, at once autocratic and anonymous. This is the real modern problem, which has nothing to do with utopias; and until it is solved there will be a real satire in self-government for men who are invited to govern everything except themselves.

– GK Chesterton

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Hope

Hope is the thing with feathers

That perches in the soul,

And sings the tune without the words,

And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;

And sore must be the storm

That could abash the little bird

That kept so many warm.

I’ve heard it in the chillest land,

And on the strangest sea;

Yet, never, in extremity,

It asked a crumb of me.

– Emily Dickinson

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1

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!”

 

Death, be not proud

Death, be not proud, though some have called thee

Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;

For those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow

Die not, poor death, nor yet canst thou kill me.

From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,

Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,

And soonest our best men with thee do go,

Rest of their bones, and soul’s delivery.

Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,

And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,

And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well

And better than thy stroke; why swell’st thou then?

One short sleep past, we wake eternally

And death shall be no more, death, thou shalt die.

–John Donne

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

The Washing of the Fresh Birth

As to the peculiar doctrines of the sect to which he had joined himself, right or wrong in themselves, Marston, after having complied with what seemed to him the letter of the law concerning baptism, gave himself no further trouble.

He had for a long time known—for, by the power of the life in him, he had gathered from the Scriptures the finest of the wheat, where so many of every sect, great church and little church, gather only the husks and chaff—that the only baptism of any avail is the washing of the fresh birth, and the making new by that breath of God, which, breathed into man’s nostrils, first made of him a living soul.

When a man knows this, potentially he knows all things.

Excerpt From

Mary Marston

George MacDonald

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/mary-marston/id506095113?mt=11

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