The Dignity of Sonship

Where we do that we ought not, and could have helped it, be moved to anger against us, O Christ! do not treat us as if we were not worth being displeased with; let not our faults pass as if they were of no weight. Be angry with us, holy brother, wherein we are to blame; where we do not understand, have patience with us, and open our eyes, and give us strength to obey, until at length we are the children of the Father even as thou. For though thou art lord and master and saviour of them that are growing, thou art perfect lord only of the true and the safe and the free, who live in thy light and are divinely glad: we keep thee back from thy perfect lordship.

–George MacDonald, Unspoken Sermons

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Him Who Obeys

To him who obeys, and thus opens the door of his heart, God gives the Spirit of His Son, the Spirit of Himself, to be in him and lead him to the understanding of all truth; the true disciple shall thus always know what he ought to do, though not necessarily what another ought to do. The spirit enlightens by teaching righteousness. No teacher should strive to make men think as he thinks, but to lead them to the living Truth, the Master Himself, who will make them in themselves know what is true by the very seeing of it. To be the disciple of Christ is the end of being; to persuade men to be his disciples is the end of teaching.

— George MacDonald, Unspoken Sermons, Justice

Give Me Pause

If I find my position, my consciousness, that of one from home, nay, that of one is some sort of prison; if I find that I can neither rule the world in which I live nor my own thoughts or desires; that I cannot quiet my passions, order my likings, determine my ends, will my growth, forget when I would, or hate where I would; that I am no king over myself; that I cannot supply my own needs, do not even always know which of my seeming needs are to be supplied, and which treated as impostors; if, in a a word, my own being is every way too much for me; if I can neither understand it, be satisfied with it, nor better it—may it not well give me pause—the pause that ends in prayer?

— George MacDonald, Unspoken Sermons

Suffering – the Curative Quality

To regard any suffering with satisfaction, save it be sympathetically with its curative quality, comes of evil, is inhuman because undivine, is a thing God is incapable of. His nature is always to forgive, and just because he forgives, he punishes. Because God is so altogether alien to wrong, because it is to him a heart-pain and trouble that one of his little ones should do the evil thing, there is, I believe, no extreme of suffering to which, for the sake of destroying the evil thing in them, he would not subject them. A man might flatter, or bribe, or coax a tyrant; but there is no refuge from the love of God; that love will, for very love, insist upon the uttermost farthing.

– George MacDonald, Unspoken Sermons

The key is that the treatment is medicinal. There is no medicine a parent would withhold from his child, who is dying of cancer. A extreme treatment or cure would be preferable to the loss of the life of the child. But the good news is that we ourselves can be a part of that treatment, and begin to work alongside it, and so lessen the need for the severity of the curative tonics. And when we are on board, and know that the treatment (pain, or consequences of our erroneous actions) is for the healing of our souls, then we can consent to the treatment plan, and it will be less painful. Knowledge and understanding changes so much- it makes the agonies easier to bear.

– Watergirl

Let us Arise and Live

“Friends, those of you who know, or suspect, that these things are true, let us arise and live–arise even in the darkest moments of spiritual stupidity, when hope itself sees nothing to hope for. Let us not trouble ourselves about the cause of our earthliness, except we know it to be some unrighteousness in us, but go at once to the Life. Never, never let us accept as consolation the poor suggestion, that the cause of our deadness is physical. Can it be comfort to know that this body of ours, because of the death in it, is too much for the spirit–which ought not merely to triumph over it, but to inspire it with subjection and obedience? Let us comfort ourselves in the thought of the Father and the Son. So long as there dwells harmony, so long as the Son loves the Father with all the love the Father can welcome, all is well with the little ones. God is all right–why should we mind standing in the dark for a minute outside his window? Of course we miss the inness, but there is a bliss of its own in waiting. What if the rain be falling, and the wind blowing; what if we stand alone, or, more painful still, have some dear one beside us, sharing our outness; what even if the window be not shining, because of the curtains of good inscrutable drawn across it; let us think to ourselves, or say to our friend, ‘God is; Jesus is not dead; nothing can be going wrong, however it may look so to hearts unfinished in childness.’ Let us say to the Lord, ‘Jesus, art thou loving the Father in there? Then we out here will do his will, patiently waiting till he open the door. We shall not mind the wind or the rain much. Perhaps thou art saying to the Father, “Thy little ones need some wind and rain: their buds are hard; the flowers do not come out. I cannot get them made blessed without a little more winter-weather.” Then perhaps the Father will say, “Comfort them, my son Jesus, with the memory of thy patience when thou wast missing me. Comfort them that thou wast sure of me when everything about thee seemed so unlike me, so unlike the place thou hadst left.”‘ In a word, let us be at peace, because peace is at the heart of things–peace and utter satisfaction between the Father and the Son–in which peace they call us to share; in which peace they promise that at length, when they have their good way with us, we shall share.

Before us, then, lies a bliss unspeakable, a bliss beyond the thought or invention of man, to every child who will fall in with the perfect imagination of the Father. His imagination is one with his creative will. The thing that God imagines, that thing exists. When the created falls in with the will of him who ‘loved him into being,’ then all is well; thenceforward the mighty creation goes on in him upon higher and yet higher levels, in more and yet more divine airs. Thy will, O God, be done! Nought else is other than loss, than decay, than corruption. There is no life but that born of the life that the Word made in himself by doing thy will, which life is the light of men. Through that light is born the life of men–the same life in them that came first into being in Jesus. As he laid down his life, so must men lay down their lives, that as he liveth they may live also. That which was made in him was life, and the life is the light of men; and yet his own, to whom he was sent, did not believe him.”

Excerpt From

Unspoken Sermons: Series I., II., and III.

George MacDonald

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/unspoken-sermons-series-i-ii-and-iii/id370193463?mt=11

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The Voice of Job: Notes

“If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come.”

– The book of Job seems to me the most daring of poems

– from a position of the most vantageless realism, it assaults the very citadel of the ideal!

– Its hero is a man seated among the ashes, covered with loathsome boils from head to foot, scraping himself with a potsherd. Sore in body, sore in mind, sore in heart, sore in spirit, he is the instance- type of humanity in the depths of its misery

– Job, I say, is the human being–a centre to the sickening assaults of pain, the ghastly invasions of fear: these, one time or another, I presume, threaten to overwhelm every man, reveal him to himself as enslaved to the external, and stir him up to find some way out into the infinite, where alone he can rejoice in the liberty that belongs to his nature.

– But no more that of a slave is his cry, than the defiance of Prometheus hurled at Jupiter from his rock.

– He is more overwhelmed than the Titan, for he is in infinite perplexity as well as pain; but no more than in that of Prometheus is there a trace of the cowardly in his cry. Before the Judge he asserts his innocence, and will not grovel–knowing indeed that to bear himself so would be to insult the holy.

– He feels he has not deserved such suffering, and will neither tell nor listen to lies for God. Job is nothing of a Stoic, but bemoans himself like a child–a brave child who seems to himself to suffer wrong, and recoils with horror-struck bewilderment from the unreason of the thing.

– Job, on the other hand, is the more troubled because it is He who is at the head and the heart, who is the beginning and the end of things, that has laid his hand upon him with such a heavy torture that he takes his flesh in his teeth for pain.

– He cannot, will not believe him a tyrant; but, while he pleads against his dealing with himself, loves him, and looks to him as the source of life, the power and gladness of being. He dares not think God unjust, but not therefore can he allow that he has done anything to merit the treatment he is receiving at his hands. Hence is he of necessity in profoundest perplexity, for how can the two things be reconciled?

– The thought has not yet come to him that that which it would be unfair to lay upon him as punishment, may yet be laid upon him as favour–by a love supreme which would give him blessing beyond all possible prayer– blessing he would not dare to ask if he saw the means necessary to its giving, but blessing for which, once known and understood, he would be willing to endure yet again all that he had undergone.

– He does not deny that there is evil in him; for–‘Dost thou open thine eyes upon such an one,’ he pleads, ‘and bringest me into judgment with thee?’ but he does deny that he has been a wicked man, a doer of the thing he knew to be evil: he does deny that there is any guile in him.

– I will call no one Master but Christ–and from him I learn that his quarrel with us is that we will not do what we know, will not come to him that we may have life.

-Explanations of God’s ways by such as did not understand Him, they are acceptable to such as do not care to know him; such as are content to stand afar off and stare at the cloud whence issue the thunders and the voices; but a burden threatening to sink them to Tophet, a burden grievous to be borne, [are acceptable] to such as would arise and go to the Father.

– The contradiction between Job’s idea of the justice of God and the things which had befallen him, is constantly haunting him; it has a sting in it far worse than all the other misery with which he is tormented; but it is not fixed in the hopelessness of hell by an accepted explanation more frightful than itself.

– Job refused the explanation of his friends because he knew it false; He simply holds on to the skirt of God’s garment–besieges his door–keeps putting his question again and again, ever haunting the one source of true answer and reconciliation.

– No answer will do for him but the answer that God only can give; for who but God can justify God’s ways to his creature?

What is Faith in Jesus?

Do you ask, ‘What is faith in him?’ I answer, The leaving of your way, your objects, your self, and the taking of his and him; the leaving of your trust in men, in money, in opinion, in character, in atonement itself, and doing as he tells you. I can find no words strong enough to serve for the weight of this necessity–this obedience.

—George MacDonald, Unspoken Sermons