The Dangers of Philanthropy

“The part of philanthropist is indeed a dangerous one; and the man who would do his neighbour good must first study how not to do him evil, and must begin by pulling the beam out of his own eye.”

Excerpt From

Lilith, a romance

George MacDonald

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/lilith-a-romance/id498674947?mt=11

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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

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

IF

 

If you can keep your head when all about you

Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

But make allowance for their doubting too;

 

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,

And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

 

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;

If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

And treat those two impostors just the same;

 

If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken

Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,

And stoop and build ’em up with wornout tools:

 

If you can make one heap of all your winnings

And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,

And lose, and start again at your beginnings

And never breathe a word about your loss;

 

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew

To serve your turn long after they are gone,

And so hold on when there is nothing in you

Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

 

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,

Or walk with kings – nor lose the common touch,

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,

If all men count with you, but none too much;

 

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run –

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,

And – which is more – you’ll be a Man my son!

 

~ Rudyard Kipling

Sorrow by Love’s Service Robed and Crowned

woman-walking-on-the-beach

 

She leaves, but not forsakes. Oft in the night,
Oft at mid-day when all is still around,
Sudden will rise, in dim pathetic light,
Some childish memory of household bliss,
Or sorrow by love’s service robed and crowned;
Rich in his love, she yet will sometimes miss
The mother’s folding arms, the mother’s sealing kiss.

 

~George MacDonald

 

 

Sorrow by love’s service robed and crowned

Leave it to me to pick out the little pieces, instead of looking at the whole. But they shine so brightly… And leave it to George to shine that holy light on everything he touches. As always, severity, combined with tenderness.

This plants a new picture: that when pain and sorrow come, we should not scurry off to a corner to hide, waiting for all to be made right some day. That we, even while suffering and in sorrow still have a job to do; to do love’s service. That we ourselves must learn to be more father-like. And that very service will robe and crown our sorrow. What? Boom. The time of our deliverance is not yet come, and we are not come to peace and ease in Zion – not yet. How could we be happy to be set up, perfectly happy and satisfied to our heart’s content, while so many of our brothers and sisters are still in pain, still under oppression, still crying for salvation? As we are… Our Lord does not sit happily in his Heaven, letting us go through hell, and waiting for the bell to ring. He did not shut down and sink into his own pain and sorrow on the cross. He looked to the needs of his fellow sufferers. To the end, he took on the role of a Father – always looking out for the good of those around himself, always looking to the needs of others more than his own, and caring for his little ones.

He walks beside us every step of the way, and in the dark Thy rod and thy staff comfort me. And so must we enter into His labors, and be a part of the great work of the Lord. We must run alongside our master, following his guide, helping where we can, being as strong as we can. And when we have run our race patiently, then we will have good reward for our labors. One day all will be made right – every tear will be wiped away, and we will have joy for all of our sorrows. So much so that we will remember the former things no longer – somehow. That is what we can look forward to – that is our star of hope, to come to rest in the arms and house of our Father in the end.

But today, we must labor in the fields, and forget about our sorrow. But how? I am not that strong – my arms are weary and tired. I just want this to be over so much of the time. I am not a god, and my hands and feet are made of clay. But I know I must obey – that in the doing, will come the growth. Help us Lord, to be more like you. Fill us with your strength, with your spirit, with your joy and your youth – your LIFE. – We need so much more life… Give us the strength to follow after you, and fill us with your insurmountable and unending love. Give us wisdom, and come to our aid as we follow after you. Help us to look to you as we carry your yoke, even if we have no idea how we can possibly do it, and help us to trust that you will show us the way if you are asking us to do the job. Let your light and your spirit so live in us that we may one day be able to say that truly your yoke is easy, and your burden is light.

~Watergirl