An Inexhaustible Wellspring

“Many a time the cloud went and came, and many a lesson it taught to Gabriel Grub, who, although his shoulders smarted with pain from the frequent applications of the goblins’ feet thereunto, looked on with an interest that nothing could diminish. He saw that men who worked hard, and earned their scanty bread with lives of labour, were cheerful and happy; and that to the most ignorant, the sweet face of Nature was a never-failing source of cheerfulness and joy. He saw those who had been delicately nurtured, and tenderly brought up, cheerful under privations, and superior to suffering, that would have crushed many of a rougher grain, because they bore within their own bosoms the materials of happiness, contentment, and peace. He saw that women, the tenderest and most fragile of all God’s creatures, were the oftenest superior to sorrow, adversity, and distress; and he saw that it was because they bore, in their own hearts, an inexhaustible well-spring of affection and devotion. Above all, he saw that men like himself, who snarled at the mirth and cheerfulness of others, were the foulest weeds on the fair surface of the earth; and setting all the good of the world against the evil, he came to the conclusion that it was a very decent and respectable sort of world after all. No sooner had he formed it, than the cloud which had closed over the last picture, seemed to settle on his senses, and lull him to repose. One by one, the goblins faded from his sight; and, as the last one disappeared, he sank to sleep.”

Charles Dickens, The Pickwick Papers

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Human Weaknesses

“What I think I ought to do, my lord, I do without bargaining. I am not sorry I threw you from your horse, and to say so would be to lie.”

“Of course everybody thinks himself in the right!” said his lordship with a small sneer.

“It does not follow that no one is ever in the right!” returned Donal. “Does your lordship think you were in the right—either towards me or the poor animal who could not obey you because he was in torture?”

“I don’t say I do.”

“Then everybody does not think himself in the right! I take your lordship’s admission as an apology.”

“By no means: when I make an apology, I will do it; I will not sneak out of it.”

He was evidently at strife with himself: he knew he was wrong, but could not yet bring himself to say so. It is one of the poorest of human weaknesses that a man should be ashamed of saying he has done wrong, instead of so ashamed of having done wrong that he cannot rest till he has said so; for the shame cleaves fast until the confession removes it.

Excerpt From

Donal Grant, by George MacDonald

George MacDonald

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Heir of Earth and Heaven

With thee on board, each sailor is a king

Nor I mere captain of my vessel then,

But heir of earth and heaven, eternal child;

Daring all truth, nor fearing anything;

Mighty in love, the servant of all men;

Resenting nothing, taking rage and blare

Into the Godlike silence of a loving care.

I cannot see, my God, a reason why

From morn to night I go not gladsome free;

For, if thou art what my soul thinketh thee,

There is no burden but should lightly lie,

No duty but a joy at heart must be:

Love’s perfect will can be nor sore nor small,

For God is light—in him no darkness is at all.

Tis something thus to think, and half to trust—

But, ah! my very heart, God-born, should lie

Spread to the light, clean, clear of mire and rust,

And like a sponge drink the divine sunbeams.

What resolution then, strong, swift, and high!

What pure devotion, or to live or die!

And in my sleep, what true, what perfect dreams!

Excerpt From

A Book of Strife in the Form of The Diary of an Old Soul

George MacDonald

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/a-book-of-strife-in-the-form-of-the-diary-of-an-old-soul/id499797732?mt=11

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Fall in, My Love

“No man can order his life, for it comes flowing over him from behind. But if it lay before us, and we could watch its current approaching from a long distance, what could we do with it before it had reached the now? In like wise a man thinks foolishly who imagines he could have done this and that with his own character and development, if he had but known this and that in time. Were he as good as he thinks himself wise he could but at best have produced a fine cameo in very low relief: with a work in the round, which he is meant to be; he could have done nothing.

The one secret of life and development, is not to devise and plan, but to fall in with the forces at work—to do every moment’s duty aright—that being the part in the process allotted to us; and let come—not what will, for there is no such thing—but what the eternal Thought wills for each of us, has intended in each of us from the first.

If men would but believe that they are in process of creation, and consent to be made—let the maker handle them as the potter his clay, yielding themselves in respondent motion and submissive hopeful action with the turning of his wheel, they would ere long find themselves able to welcome every pressure of that hand upon them, even when it was felt in pain, and sometimes not only to believe but to recognize the divine end in view, the bringing of a son into glory; whereas, behaving like children who struggle and scream while their mother washes and dresses them, they find they have to be washed and dressed, notwithstanding, and with the more discomfort: they may even have to find themselves set half naked and but half dried in a corner, to come to their right minds, and ask to be finished.”

– George MacDonald, Sir Gibbie

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/sir-gibbie/id498699187?mt=11

Forsaken, and Still Obeys

“Be not deceived, Wormwood, our cause is never more in jeopardy than when a human, no longer desiring but still intending to do our Enemy’s will, looks round upon a universe in which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.”

CS Lewis, Screwtape Letters