Feelings, Action, and Death

Screwtape speaking to a junior devil:

The more often he feels without acting, the less he will be able ever to act, and in the long run, the less he will be able to feel.

— CS Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

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Thy Presence

“I AM a little weary of my life—

Not thy life, blessed Father! Or the blood

Too slowly laves the coral shores of thought,

Or I am weary of weariness and strife.

Open my soul-gates to thy living flood;

I ask not larger heart-throbs, vigour-fraught,

I pray thy presence, with strong patience rife.”

~George MacDonald

Beth-el

Too eager I must not be to understand.

How should the work the master goes about

Fit the vague sketch my compasses have planned?

I am his house—for him to go in and out.

He builds me now—and if I cannot see

At any time what he is doing with me,

‘Tis that he makes the house for me too grand.

—George MacDonald

Evening Hymn

O God, whose daylight leadeth down

Into the sunless way,

Who with restoring sleep doest crown

The labour of the day!

What I have done, Lord, make it clean

With thy forgiveness dear;

That so today what might have been,

Tomorrow may appear.

And when my thought is all astray,

Yet think thou on in me;

That with the newborn innocent day

My soul rise fresh and free.

Nor let me wander all in vain

Through dreams that mock and flee;

But even in visions of the brain,

Go wandering toward thee.

—George MacDonald

A Perfect Faith

“Suddenly Gibbie, in the midst of his astonishment and awful delight, noted the path of the new stream, and from his knowledge of the face of the mountain, perceived that its course was direct for the cottage. Down the hill he shot after it, as if it were a wild beast that his fault had freed from its cage. He was not terrified. One believing like him in the perfect Love and perfect Will of a Father of men, as the fact of facts, fears nothing. Fear is faithlessness. But there is so little that is worthy the name of faith, that such a confidence will appear to most not merely incredible but heartless. The Lord himself seems not to have been very hopeful about us, for he said, When the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth? A perfect faith would lift us absolutely above fear. It is in the cracks, crannies, and gulfy faults of our belief, the gaps that are not faith, that the snow of apprehension settles, and the ice of unkindness forms.”

— George MacDonald

Thou Knowest All

THOU art of this world, Christ. Thou know’st it all;
Thou know’st our evens, our morns, our red and gray;
How moons, and hearts, and seasons rise and fall;
How we grow weary plodding on the way;
Of future joy how present pain bereaves,
Rounding us with a dark of mere decay,
Tossed with a drift Of summer-fallen leaves.

Thou knowest all our weeping, fainting, striving;
Thou know’st how very hard it is to be;
How hard to rouse faint will not yet reviving;
To do the pure thing, trusting all to thee;
To hold thou art there, for all no face we see;
How hard to think, through cold and dark and dearth,
That thou art nearer now than when eye-seen on earth.

Have pity on us for the look of things,
When blank denial stares us in the face.
Although the serpent mask have lied before,
It fascinates the bird that darkling sings,
And numbs the little prayer-bird’s beating wings.
For how believe thee somewhere in blank space,
If through the darkness come no knocking to our door?

If we might sit until the darkness go,
Possess our souls in patience perhaps we might;
But there is always something to be done,
And no heart left to do it. To and fro
The dull thought surges, as the driven waves fight
In gulfy channels. Oh! victorious one,
Give strength to rise, go out, and meet thee in the night.

Wake, thou that sleepest; rise up from the dead,
And Christ will give thee light.” I do not know
What sleep is, what is death, or what is light;
But I am waked enough to feel a woe,
To rise and leave death. Stumbling through the night,
To my dim lattice, O calling Christ! I go,
And out into the dark look for thy star-crowned head.

– George MacDonald.

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

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