Alas for Scotland that such families are now to seek! Would that the parliaments of our country held such a proportion of noble-minded men as was once to be found in the clay huts on a hill-side, or grouped about a central farm, huts whose wretched look would move the pity of many a man as inferior to their occupants as a King Charles’s lap-dog is to a shepherd’s colley. The utensils of their life were mean enough: the life itself was often elixir vitae—a true family life, looking up to the high, divine life. But well for the world that such life has been scattered over it, east and west, the seed of fresh growth in new lands. Out of offence to the individual, God brings good to the whole; for he pets no nation, but trains it for the perfect globular life of all nations—of his world—of his universe. As he makes families mingle, to redeem each from its family selfishness, so will he make nations mingle, and love and correct and reform and develop each other, till the planet-world shall go singing through space one harmony to the God of the whole earth. The excellence must vanish from one portion, that it may be diffused through the whole. The seed ripens on one favoured mound, and is scattered over the plain. We console ourselves with the higher thought, that if Scotland is worse, the world is better. Yea, even they by whom the offence came, and who have first to reap the woe of that offence, because they did the will of God to satisfy their own avarice in laying land to land and house to house, shall not reap their punishment in having their own will, and standing therefore alone in the earth when the good of their evil deeds returns upon it; but the tears of men that ascended to heaven in the heat of their burning dwellings shall descend in the dew of blessing even on the hearts of them that kindled the fire.—”Something too much of this.”
-George MacDonald, Robert Falconer
The highest condition of the human will is in sight… I say not the highest condition of the Human Being; that surely lies in the Beatific Vision, in the sight of God. But the highest condition of the Human Will, as distinct, not as separated from God, is when, not seeing God, not seeming to itself to grasp Him at all, it yet holds Him fast.
Where we do that we ought not, and could have helped it, be moved to anger against us, O Christ! do not treat us as if we were not worth being displeased with; let not our faults pass as if they were of no weight. Be angry with us, holy brother, wherein we are to blame; where we do not understand, have patience with us, and open our eyes, and give us strength to obey, until at length we are the children of the Father even as thou. For though thou art lord and master and saviour of them that are growing, thou art perfect lord only of the true and the safe and the free, who live in thy light and are divinely glad: we keep thee back from thy perfect lordship.
–George MacDonald, Unspoken Sermons
Every man must read the Word (Jesus) for himself. One may read it in one shape, another and another: all will be right if it be indeed the Word they read, and they read it by the lamp of obedience. He who is willing to do the will of the Father shall know the truth of the teaching of Jesus. The spirit is ‘given to them that obey him.’
To him who obeys, and thus opens the door of his heart, God gives the Spirit of His Son, the Spirit of Himself, to be in him and lead him to the understanding of all truth; the true disciple shall thus always know what he ought to do, though not necessarily what another ought to do. The spirit enlightens by teaching righteousness. No teacher should strive to make men think as he thinks, but to lead them to the living Truth, the Master Himself, who will make them in themselves know what is true by the very seeing of it. To be the disciple of Christ is the end of being; to persuade men to be his disciples is the end of teaching.
— George MacDonald, Unspoken Sermons, Justice