The Stillness of the Kingdom

How still the night was! My soul hung, as it were, suspended in stillness; for the whole sphere of heaven seemed to be about me, the stars above shining as clear below in the mirror of the all but motionless water.

It was a pure type of the “rest that remaineth”–rest, the one immovable centre wherein lie all the stores of might, whence issue all forces, all influences of making and moulding. “And, indeed,” I said to myself, “after all the noise, uproar, and strife that there is on the earth, after all the tempests, earthquakes, and volcanic outbursts, there is yet more of peace than of tumult in the world. How many nights like this glide away in loveliness, when deep sleep hath fallen upon men, and they know neither how still their own repose, nor how beautiful the sleep of nature!

Ah, what must the stillness of the kingdom be? When the heavenly day’s work is done, with what a gentle wing will the night come down! But I bethink me, the rest there, as here, will be the presence of God; and if we have Him with us, the battle-field itself will be–if not quiet, yet as full of peace as this night of stars.

–George MacDonald, Annals of a Quiet Neighborhood

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Heart-Security and Soul-Safety

“That moment I felt a little hand poke itself into mine. I looked down, and there was Gerard Weir looking up in my face. I found myself in the midst of the children coming out of school, for it was Saturday, and a half-holiday. He smiled in my face, and I hope I smiled in his; and so, hand in hand, we went on to the vicarage, where I gave him up to my sister.

But I cannot convey to my reader any notion of the quietness that entered my heart with the grasp of that childish hand. I think it was the faith of the boy in me that comforted me, but I could not help thinking of the words of our Lord about receiving a child in His name, and so receiving Him.

By the time we reached the vicarage my heart was very quiet. As the little child held by my hand, so I seemed to be holding by God’s hand. And a sense of heart-security, as well as soul-safety, awoke in me; and I said to myself,–Surely He will take care of my heart as well as of my mind and my conscience.

For one blessed moment I seemed to be at the very centre of things, looking out quietly upon my own troubled emotions as upon something outside of me–apart from me, even as one from the firm rock may look abroad upon the vexed sea. And I thought I then knew something of what the apostle meant when he said, “Your life is hid with Christ in God.” I knew that there was a deeper self than that which was thus troubled.”

George MacDonald

Annals of a Quiet Neighborhood

Chapter 23