Life or Death

It is a small thing to a man whether or not his neighbor be merciful to him; it is life or death to him whether or not he be merciful to his neighbor.

— George MacDonald

Every Hair and Feather

“There is no escape. There is no heaven with a little of hell in it – no plan to retain this or that of the devil in our hearts or our pockets. Out Satan must go, every hair and feather”

– George MacDonald, Unspoken Sermons II

Hearted Throughout with Thee

From thine, as then, the healing virtue goes

Into our hearts—that is the Father’s plan.

From heart to heart it sinks, it steals, it flows,

From these that know thee still infecting those.

Here is my heart—from thine, Lord, fill it up,

That I may offer it as the holy cup

Of thy communion to my every man.

When thou dost send out whirlwinds on thy seas,

Alternatest thy lightning with its roar,

Thy night with morning, and thy clouds with stars

Or, mightier force unseen in midst of these,

Orderest the life in every airy pore;

Guidest men’s efforts, rul’st mishaps and jars,—

‘Tis only for their hearts, and nothing more

This, this alone thy father careth for—

That men should live hearted throughout with thee—

Because the simple, only life thou art,

Of the very truth of living, the pure heart.

For this, deep waters whelm the fruitful lea,

Wars ravage, famine wastes, plague withers, nor

Shall cease till men have chosen the better part.

But, like a virtuous medicine, self-diffused

Through all men’s hearts thy love shall sink and float;

Till every feeling false, and thought unwise,

Selfish, and seeking, shall, sternly disused,

Wither, and die, and shrivel up to nought;

And Christ, whom they did hang ‘twixt earth and skies,

Up in the inner world of men arise.

Excerpt From

A Book of Strife in the Form of The Diary of an Old Soul

George MacDonald

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/a-book-of-strife-in-the-form-of-the-diary-of-an-old-soul/id499797732?mt=11

This material may be protected by copyright.

So Chained

“So bound in selfishness am I, so chained,

I know it must be glorious to be free

But know not what, full-fraught, the word doth mean.

By loss on loss I have severely gained

Wisdom enough my slavery to see;

But liberty, pure, absolute, serene,

No freëst-visioned slave has ever seen.”

George MacDonald, The Diary of an Old Soul

How interesting that the things we feel are chains that bind are often our very gateways to freedom… Why is it always said we must die to live? And that he that would rule many must first learn to serve? Any kind of self discipline is like this. The process of the discipline is hard, and often we don’t see the good fruits of our labors for years after. But once we are there at the end of the day, with our labors so laid out we can see them in hindsight, our heart finds peace and joy at the wonderful outcome of our long labors.

Conversely, some of the things we hardly feel as binding at all, but really appear to us as “freedoms,” grow up stealthily from the tiny threads of whim, to chains of steel about our necks- chains that would choke out the very life and spirit of our own souls. And these we do not hardly recognize at first sight, and in the end once their weight is felt, we are drugged so by their poison that we cannot hardly even rouse ourselves to seek deliverance.

It is truly said that things are not always as they appear, and some deeper sight is necessary to finding the truth in life, and the joy of existence.

Hymn to God, My God, in My Sickness, John Donne

Since I am coming to that holy room,

         Where, with thy choir of saints for evermore,

I shall be made thy music; as I come

         I tune the instrument here at the door,

         And what I must do then, think here before. 

Whilst my physicians by their love are grown

         Cosmographers, and I their map, who lie

Flat on this bed, that by them may be shown

         That this is my south-west discovery, 

      Per fretum febris, by these straits to die, 

I joy, that in these straits I see my west;

         For, though their currents yield return to none,

What shall my west hurt me? As west and east

         In all flat maps (and I am one) are one,

         So death doth touch the resurrection.

Is the Pacific Sea my home? Or are

         The eastern riches? Is Jerusalem?

Anyan, and Magellan, and Gibraltar,

         All straits, and none but straits, are ways to them,

         Whether where Japhet dwelt, or Cham, or Shem. 

We think that Paradise and Calvary, 

         Christ’s cross, and Adam’s tree, stood in one place; 

Look, Lord, and find both Adams met in me; 

         As the first Adam’s sweat surrounds my face, 

         May the last Adam’s blood my soul embrace. 

So, in his purple wrapp’d, receive me, Lord; 

         By these his thorns, give me his other crown; 

And as to others’ souls I preach’d thy word, 

         Be this my text, my sermon to mine own: 

“Therefore that he may raise, the Lord throws down.”

John Donne

Trouble

“When Rogers had thanked God, he rose, took my hand, and said:—

“Mr Walton, you WILL preach now. I thank God for the good we shall all get from the trouble you have gone through.”

“I ought to be the better for it,” I answered.

“You WILL be the better for it,” he returned. “I believe I’ve allus been the better for any trouble as ever I had to go through with. I couldn’t quite say the same for every bit of good luck I had; leastways, I consider trouble the best luck a man can have. And I wish you a good night, sir. Thank God! again.”

“But, Rogers, you don’t mean it would be good for us to have bad luck always, do you? You shouldn’t be pleased at what’s come to me now, in that case.”

“No, sir, sartinly not.”

“How can you say, then, that bad luck is the best luck?”

“I mean the bad luck that comes to us—not the bad luck that doesn’t come. But you’re right, sir. Good luck or bad luck’s both best when HE sends ’em, as He allus does. In fac’, sir, there is no bad luck but what comes out o’ the man hisself. The rest’s all good.”

Excerpt From

Annals of a Quiet Neighbourhood

George MacDonald

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/annals-of-a-quiet-neighbourhood/id501016131?mt=11

This material may be protected by copyright.