The Spirit Strives With Our Spirit

A man will please God better by believing some things that are not told him, than by confining his faith to those things that are expressly said-said to arouse in us the truth-seeing faculty, the spiritual desire, the prayer for the good things which God will give to them who ask him.

"But is this not dangerous doctrine? Will not a man be taught thus to believe the things he likes best, even to pray for that which he likes best? And will he not grow arrogant in his confidence?"

If it be true that the Spirit strives with our spirit, if it be true that God teaches men, we may safely leave those dreaded results to him. If the man is of the Lord's company, he is safer with him than with those who would secure their safety by hanging on the outskirts and daring nothing. if he is not taught of God in that which he hopes for, God will let him know it. He will receive something else than he prays for. If he can pray to God for anything not good, the answer will come in the flames of that consuming fire. These will soon bring him to some of his spiritual sense. But it will be far better for him to be thus sharply tutored, than to go on a snail's pace in the journey of the spiritual life. And for arrogance, I have seen nothing breed it faster or in more offensive forms than the worship of the letter.

—George MacDonald, Unspoken Sermons

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The Very Children of God

From a report of George MacDonald's sermon:

"He was not here to make a fine sermon; he scorned that kind of thing; he was there to persuade them if he could to be the disciples of Christ, the very children of God; less than that was loss and ruin to the very essence of their being . . . True obedience to the word of Christ was the only bond between Him and those who called themselves Christians."

Thou Art my Home

"That man is perfect in faith who can come to God in the utter dearth of his feelings and his desires, without a glow or an aspiration, with the weight of low thoughts, failures, neglects, and wandering forgetfulness, and say to him, 'Thou art my refuge, because thou art my home.'"

-George MacDonald

How We Have Learned Christ

“But for him who is in earnest about the will of God, it is of endless consequence that he should think rightly of God. He cannot truly know His will while his notion of Him is in any point that of a false god.

If such a man seem to himself to be giving up even his former assurance of salvation, in yielding such ideas of God as are unworthy of God, he must none the less, if he would enter into life, take up that cross also. 
He will come to see that he must follow no doctrine, be it true as word of man could state it, but the living Truth, the Master himself. 
Many good souls will one day be horrified at the things they now believe of God. If they have not thought about them, but given themselves to obedience, they may not have done them much harm as yet. But there are those who find them a terrible obstruction, and yet imagine, or at least fear them true; such must take courage to forsake the false in any shape, to deny their old selves in the most seemingly sacred of prejudices, and follow Jesus as He is presented by Himself, His apostles, and the Spirit of Truth. We must look to how we have learned Christ.”
– George MacDonald 

These Golden Moments

And the joke, or tragedy, of it all is that these golden moments in the past, which are so tormenting if we erect them to a norm, are entirely nourishing, wholesome, and enchanting if we are content to accept them for what they are, for memories. Properly bedded down in a past which we do not miserably try to conjure back, it will send up exquisite growths. Leave the bulbs alone, and the new flowers will come up. Grub them up and hope, by fondling and sniffing, to get last year’s blooms, and you will get nothing.
—CS Lewis