“What I think I ought to do, my lord, I do without bargaining. I am not sorry I threw you from your horse, and to say so would be to lie.”
“Of course everybody thinks himself in the right!” said his lordship with a small sneer.
“It does not follow that no one is ever in the right!” returned Donal. “Does your lordship think you were in the right—either towards me or the poor animal who could not obey you because he was in torture?”
“I don’t say I do.”
“Then everybody does not think himself in the right! I take your lordship’s admission as an apology.”
“By no means: when I make an apology, I will do it; I will not sneak out of it.”
He was evidently at strife with himself: he knew he was wrong, but could not yet bring himself to say so. It is one of the poorest of human weaknesses that a man should be ashamed of saying he has done wrong, instead of so ashamed of having done wrong that he cannot rest till he has said so; for the shame cleaves fast until the confession removes it.
Donal Grant, by George MacDonald
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In every stream he came to he bathed his feet, and often on the way rested them, when otherwise able enough to go on. He had no certain goal, though he knew his direction, and was in no haste. He had confidence in God and in his own powers as the gift of God, and knew that wherever he went he needed not be hungry long, even should the little money in his pocket be spent.
It is better to trust in work than in money: God never buys anything, and is for ever at work; but if any one trust in work, he has to learn that he must trust in nothing but strength—the self-existent, original strength only; and Donal Grant had long begun to learn that. The man has begun to be strong who knows that, separated from life essential, he is weakness itself, that, one with his origin, he will be of strength inexhaustible.
–George MacDonald, Donal Grant
“No man can order his life, for it comes flowing over him from behind. But if it lay before us, and we could watch its current approaching from a long distance, what could we do with it before it had reached the now? In like wise a man thinks foolishly who imagines he could have done this and that with his own character and development, if he had but known this and that in time. Were he as good as he thinks himself wise he could but at best have produced a fine cameo in very low relief: with a work in the round, which he is meant to be; he could have done nothing.
The one secret of life and development, is not to devise and plan, but to fall in with the forces at work—to do every moment’s duty aright—that being the part in the process allotted to us; and let come—not what will, for there is no such thing—but what the eternal Thought wills for each of us, has intended in each of us from the first.
If men would but believe that they are in process of creation, and consent to be made—let the maker handle them as the potter his clay, yielding themselves in respondent motion and submissive hopeful action with the turning of his wheel, they would ere long find themselves able to welcome every pressure of that hand upon them, even when it was felt in pain, and sometimes not only to believe but to recognize the divine end in view, the bringing of a son into glory; whereas, behaving like children who struggle and scream while their mother washes and dresses them, they find they have to be washed and dressed, notwithstanding, and with the more discomfort: they may even have to find themselves set half naked and but half dried in a corner, to come to their right minds, and ask to be finished.”
– George MacDonald, Sir Gibbie