God Nowhere

“What a horror of darkness seemed to hang over that family! What deeds of wickedness! But the reason was clear: the horror came from within; selfishness, and fierceness of temper were its source—no unhappy DOOM. The worship of one’s own will fumes out around the being an atmosphere of evil, an altogether abnormal condition of the moral firmament, out of which will break the very flames of hell. The consciousness of birth and of breeding, instead of stirring up to deeds of gentleness and “high emprise,” becomes then but an incentive to violence and cruelty; and things which seem as if they could not happen in a civilized country and a polished age, are proved as possible as ever where the heart is unloving, the feelings unrefined, self the centre, and God nowhere in the man or woman’s vision. The terrible things that one reads in old histories, or in modern newspapers, were done by human beings, not by demons.”

Excerpt From

Annals of a Quiet Neighbourhood

George MacDonald

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/annals-of-a-quiet-neighbourhood/id501016131?mt=11

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Broken Down Poetry

“I went home very quietly, as I say, thinking about the strange elements that not only combine to make life, but must be combined in our idea of life, before we can form a true theory about it. Now-a-days, the vulgar notion of what is life-like in any annals is to be realised by sternly excluding everything but the commonplace; and the means, at least, are often attained, with this much of the end as well—that the appearance life bears to vulgar minds is represented with a wonderful degree of success. But I believe that this is, at least, quite as unreal a mode of representing life as the other extreme, wherein the unlikely, the romantic, and the uncommon predominate. I doubt whether there is a single history—if one could only get at the whole of it—in which there is not a considerable admixture of the unlikely become fact, including a few strange coincidences; of the uncommon, which, although striking at first, has grown common from familiarity with its presence as our own; with even, at least, some one more or less rosy touch of what we call the romantic.

My own conviction is, that the poetry is far the deepest in us, and that the prose is only broken-down poetry;

and likewise that to this our lives correspond. The poetic region is the true one, and just, THEREFORE, the incredible one to the lower order of mind; for although every mind is capable of the truth, or rather capable of becoming capable of the truth, there may lie ages between its capacity and the truth. As you will hear some people read poetry so that no mortal could tell it was poetry, so do some people read their own lives and those of others.”

Excerpt From

Annals of a Quiet Neighbourhood

George MacDonald

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/annals-of-a-quiet-neighbourhood/id501016131?mt=11

This material may be protected by copyright.

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

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