george macdonald

"Do I believe or feel this thing right?--the true question is forgotten: "Have I left all to follow him?" To the man who gives himself to the living Lord, every belief will necessarily come right; the Lord himself will se that his disciple believe aright concerning him. If a man cannot trust him for this, what claim can he make to faith in him? It is because he has little or no faith, that he is left clinging to preposterous and dishonouring ideas, the traditions of men concerning his Father, and neither his teaching nor that of his apostles. The living Christ is to them but a shadow; the all but obliterated Christ of their theories no soul can thoroughly believe in: the disciple of such a Christ rests on his work, or his merits, or his atonement!"

It is the one terrible heresy of the church, that it has always been presenting something else than obedience as faith in Christ...And the reason that so many who believe about Christ rather than in him, get the comfort they do, is that, touching thus the mere hem of his garment, they cannot help believing a little in the live man inside the garment...Instead of so knowing Christ that they have him in them saving them, they lie wasting themselves in soul-sickening self-examination as to whether they are believers, whether they are really trusting in the atonement, whether they are truly sorry for their sins--the way to madness of the brain, and despair of the heart...when all the time the man who died for them is waiting to begin to save them from every evil--and first for this self which is so consuming them with trouble about its salvation; he will set them free, and take them home to the bosom of the Father--if only they will mind what he says to them--which is the beginning, middle, and end of faith. If, instead of searching into the mysteries of corruption in their own chaarnel-houses, they would be awake and arise from the dead, and come out into the light which Christ is waiting to give them, he would begin at once to fill them with the fulness of God.

If you do nothing that he says, it is no wonder that you cannot trust in him, and are therefore driven to seek refuge in the atonement, as if something he had done, and not he himself in his doing were the atonement...No man can do yet what he tells him aright--but are you trying? Obedience is not perfection, but trying.

If we do what he tells us, his light will go up in our hearts. Till then we could not understand even if he explained to us. If you cannot trust him to let you know what is right, but think you must hold this or that before you can come to him, then I justify your doubts in what you call your worst times, but which I suspect are your best times in which you come nearest to the truth--those, namely, in which you fear you have no faith.

The whole secret of progress is the doing of the thing we know. There is no other way of progress in the spiritual life; no other way of progress in the understanding of that life: only as we do, can we know.

He will leave no man to his own way, however much he may prefer it. The Lord did not die to provide a man with the wretched heaven he may invent for himself, or accept invented for him by others; he died to give him life, and bring him to the heaven of the Father's peace; the children much share in the essential bliss of the Father and the Son. This is and has been the Father's work from the beginning--to bring us into the home of his heart, where he shares the glories of life with the Living One, in whom was born life to light men back to the orginal life. This is our destiny; and however a man may refuse, he will find it hard to fight with God--useless to kick against the goads of his love. For the Father is goading him, or will goad him, if needful, into life by unrest and trouble; hell-fire will have its turn if less will not do: can any need it more than such as will neither enter the kindgom of heaven themselves, nor suffer them to enter it that would?

The one only thing truly to reconcile all differences is, to walk in the light...in such walking, and in such walking only, love will grow, truth will grow; the soul, then first in its genuine element and true relation towards god, will see into reality that was before but a blank to it; and he who has promised to teach, will teach abundantly.

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