The Consuming Fire Himself

When Christianity says that God loves man, it means that God loves man: not that He has some ‘disinterested’, because really indifferent, concern for our welfare, but that, in awful an surprising truth, we are the objects of His love. You asked for a loving God: you have one. The great spirit you so lightly invoked, the ‘lord of terrible aspect’, is present: not a senile benevolence that drowsily wishes you to be happy in your own way, not the cold philanthropy of a conscientious magistrate, nor the care of a host who feels responsible for the comfort of his guests, but the consuming fire Himself, the Love that made the worlds, persistent as the artist’s love for his work and despotic as a man’s love for his dog, provident and venerable as a father’s love for a child, jealous, inexorable, exacting as love between the sexes. How this should be, I do not know… We were made not primarily that we may love God (though we were made for that too) but that God may love us, that we may become objects in which the Divine love may rest ‘well pleased’. To ask that God’s love should be content with us as we are is to ask the God should cease to be God: because He is what He is, His love must, in the nature of things, be impeded and repelled, by certain stains in our present character, and because He already loves us He must labour to make us lovable. We cannot even wish, in our better moments, that He could reconcile Himself to our present impurities.

— C.S. Lewis

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On Growth

And so all growth that is not toward God

Is growing to decay. All increase gained

Is but an ugly, earthy, fungous growth.

’Tis aspiration as that wick aspires,

Towering above the light it overcomes,

But ever sinking with the dying flame.

O let me live, if but a daisy’s life!

– George MacDonald, Within and Without

The Truly Wise

The truly wise talk little about religion, and are not given to taking sides on doctrinal issues. When they hear people advocating or opposing the claims of this or that party in the church, they turn away with a smile such as men yield to the talk of children. They have no time, they would say, for that kind of thing. They have enough to do in trying to faithfully practice what is beyond dispute.

~ 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

In That Fashion

“Most people calling themselves Christians think that somehow or other they shall be able to scramble into heaven and keep out of hell. There is no religion in that, that is only prudential care of themselves. I do not blame it, but I do not praise it. I do not call that salvation, even if you could have it, but you could not; for if there were a place that could be got into in that fashion, where everybody else was blessed and happy, and you got into it somehow, you would just be miserable as you ought to be, and I am not quite sure that you would not leave it and try the other place.”

From a report of George MacDonald’s sermon reprinted in ‘George MacDonald in the Pulpit.’