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

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I Look to Thee

My God, I look to thee for tenderness

Such as I could not seek from any man,

Or in a human heart fancy or plan—

A something deepest prayer will not express:

Lord, with thy breath blow on my being’s fires,

Until, even to the soul with self-love wan,

I yield the primal love, that no return desires.

—George MacDonald, The Diary of an Old Soul

A New Gift of Life

If every sunlit, sail crowded sea under blue heaven, flecked with wind chased white filled your soul, as with a new gift of life – think what sense of existence must be yours if He, whose thought has but fringed His garment with the gladness of such a show, were to make his home with you – and while thinking of the gladness of God inside your being, let you know and feel that He is carrying you as a Father in his bosom!

Unspoken sermons, “Life” by George MacDonald

How Hardly Things go Right

Alas, how easily things go wrong!

A sigh too much, or a kiss too long,

And there follows a mist and a weeping rain,

And life is never the same again.

Alas, how hardly things go right!

'Tis hard to watch on a summer night,

For the sigh will come and the kiss will stay,

And the summer night is a winter day.

—George MacDonald, Phantastes

A Promptitude of Peoetry

"It is merely that when a man has found something which he prefers to life, he then for the first time begins to live. A promptitude of poetry opens in his soul of which our paltry experiences do not possess the key. When once he has despised this world as mere instrument, it has become a musical instrument; it falls into certain artistic harmonies around him.” ~G.K. Chesterton: Lunacy & Letters.

A Second Childhood

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When all my days are ending

And I have no song to sing,

I think that I shall not be too old

To stare at everything;

As I stared once at a nursery door

Or a tall tree and a swing.

 
Wherein God’s ponderous mercy hangs

On all my sins and me,

Because He does not take away

The terror from the tree

And stones still shine along the road

That are and cannot be.

 
Men grow too old for love, my love,

Men grow too old for wine,

But I shall not grow too old to see

Unearthly daylight shine,

Changing my chamber’s dust to snow

Till I doubt if it be mine.

 
Behold, the crowning mercies melt,

The first surprises stay;

And in my dross is dropped a gift

For which I dare not pray:

That a man grow used to grief and joy

But not to night and day.

 
Men grow too old for love, my love,

Men grow too old for lies;

But I shall not grow too old to see

Enormous night arise,

A cloud that is larger than the world

And a monster made of eyes.

 
Nor am I worthy to unloose

The latchet of my shoe;

Or shake the dust from off my feet

Or the staff that bears me through

On ground that is too good to last,

Too solid to be true.

 
Men grow too old to woo, my love,

Men grow too old to wed;

But I shall not grow too old to see

Hung crazily overhead

Incredible rafters when I wake

And I find that I am not dead.

 
A thrill of thunder in my hair:

Though blackening clouds be plain,

Still I am stung and startled

By the first drop of the rain:

Romance and pride and passion pass

And these are what remain.

 
Strange crawling carpets of the grass,

Wide windows of the sky;

So in this perilous grace of God

With all my sins go I:

And things grow new though I grow old,

Though I grow old and die.

 

—GK Chesterton

A Christmas Carol for 1862

(The year of the trouble in Lancashire.)

The skies are pale, the trees are stiff,

The earth is dull and old;

The frost is glittering as if

The very sun were cold.

And hunger fell is joined with frost,

To make men thin and wan:

Come, babe, from heaven, or we are lost;

Be born, O child of man.

 

Thy children cry, the women shake,

The strong men stare about;

They sleep when they should be awake,

They wake ere night is is out.

For they have lost their heritage –

No sweat is on their brow:

Come, babe, and bring them work and wage;

Be born, and save us now.

 

Across the sea, beyond our sight,

Roars on the fierce debate;

The men go down in bloody fight,

The women weep and hate;

And in the right be which that may,

Surely the strife is long!

Come, son of man, thy righteous way,

And right will have no wrong.

 

Good men speak lies against thine own –

Tongue quick, and hearing slow;

They will not let thee walk alone,

And think to serve thee so:

If they the children’s freedom saw

In thee, the children’s king,

They would be still with holy awe,

Or only speak to sing.

 

Some neither lie nor starve nor fight,

Nor yet the poor deny;

But in their hearts all is not right,

-They often sit and sigh.

We need thee every day and hour,

In sunshine and in snow:

Child-king, we pray with all our power –

Be born, and save us so.

 

We are but men and women, Lord;

Thou art a gracious child!

O fill our hearts, and heap our board,

Pray thee – the winter’s wild!

The sky is sad, the trees are bare,

Hunger and hate about:

Come, child, and ill deeds and ill fare

Will soon be driven out.

 

– George MacDonald