Faith in love

For Sunday, from an account of George MacDonald preaching, reprinted in ‘Wingfold’ Spring 2017:

“Faith in God, he is careful to explain, is not faith in opinions about God. It is faith in God’s love; while the doing of what we believe to be right is the chief if not the only means of finding out–of attaining to a belief in this love.”

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On the Wrong Side of the Door

At present we are on the outside of the world, the wrong side of the door. We discern the freshness and purity of morning, but they do not make us fresh and pure. We cannot mingle with the splendours we see. But all the leaves of the New Testament are rustling with the rumour that it will not always be so. Some day, God willing, we shall get in. When humans souls have become as perfect in voluntary obedience, then they will put on its glory, or rather that greater glory of which Nature is only the first sketch. For you must not think that I am putting forward any heathen fancy of being absorbed into Nature. Nature is mortal; we shall outlive her. When all the suns and nebulae have passed away, each one of you will still be alive. Nature is only the image, the symbol; but it is the symbol Scripture invites me to use. We are summoned to pass in through Nature, beyond her, into that splendour which she fitfully reflects. — C.S. Lewis

The Sole Wisdom — To Work

“The sole wisdom for man or boy who is haunted with the hovering of unseen wings, with the scent of unseen roses, and the subtle enticements of ‘melodies unheard,’ is work. If he follow any of those, they will vanish. But if he work, they will come unsought, and, while they come, he will believe that there is a fairy-land, where poets find their dreams, and prophets are laid hold of by their visions. The idle beat their heads against its walls, or mistake the entrance, and go down into the dark places of the earth”

-George MacDonald, Alec Forbes

A Real Child

From a description of George MacDonald preaching, reprinted in ‘Wingfold’ Winter 2012, written by a man who had attended three worship services that day: “‘We are all born from the inmost heart of Him in the first place’ (I could not help thinking of Mr. Spurgeon’s half sneer, that very morning, at ‘the universal fatherhood people,’ as he called them), ‘and yet we do not become really His children until we obey Him, just as no child is in the true sense a real child of his father until its will works with the father’s will.'”

A Joyous Thing

“To be sorrowful about money, was not a high state of religious feeling at all, for religion was a joyous, and not a gloomy thing. If they believed in God as a child believes in its father, they would have no fear for the future. They would do their work, and God would do His. No man needed more than God gave him . . . They should never close their hearts to divine things because they had no bread.” Report of George MacDonald’s sermon.

More Than Kindness

“There is kindness in Love: but Love and kindness are not coterminous, and when kindness … is separated from the other elements of Love, it involves a certain fundamental indifference to its object, and even something like contempt of it. Kindness consents very readily to the removal of its object—we have all met people whose kindness to animals is constantly leading them to kill animals lest they should suffer. Kindness, merely as such, cares not whether its object becomes good or bad, provided only that it escapes suffering. As Scripture points out, it is bastards who are spoiled: the legitimate sons, who are to carry on the family tradition, are punished [Hebrews 12:8]. It is for people whom we care nothing about that we demand happiness on any terms: with our friends, our lovers, our children, we are exacting and would rather see them suffer much than be happy in contemptible and estranging modes. If God is Love, He is, by definition, something more than mere kindness. And it appears, from all the records, that though He has often rebuked us and condemned us, He has never regarded us with contempt. He has paid us the intolerable compliment of loving us, in the deepest, most tragic, most inexorable sense.”

(C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain)