EDITED AND WITH A PREFACE BY C. S. LEWIS
TO MARY NEYLAN
C.S.Lewis "George MacDonald. An Antology"
Date: Jan 9, 2003
Изд: Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc., NEW YORK, 1978
OCR: Дмитрий Машковский
Spellcheck: Дмитрий Машковский, Jan 9, 2003
George MacDonald. An Antology (edited by C.S.Lewis)
EDITED AND WITH A PREFACE BY
TO MARY NEYLAN
2 Inexorable Love
3 Divine Burning
4 The Beginning of Wisdom
5 The Unawakened
8 The Law of Nature
9 Escape Is Hopeless
10 The Word
11 I Knew a Child
12 Spiritual Murder
14 Truth Is Truth
15 The White Stone
17 The Secret in Man
18 The Secrets in God
19 No Massing
20 No Comparing
21 The End
22 Moth and Rust
23 Caverns and Films
24 Various Kinds of Moth
25 Holy Scriptures
26 Command That These Stones Be Made Bread
27 Religious Feeling
30 The Knowledge of God
31 The Passion
32 Eli, Eli
33 The Same
34 Vicarious Desolation
35 Creeping Christians
37 The Use of Dryness
38 The Highest Condition of the Human Will
39 Troubled Soul
40 Dangerous Moment
41 It Is Finished
42 Members of One Another
44 The Moral Law
45 The Same
46 Upward toward the Center
47 No One Loves Because He Sees Why
48 My Neighbor
49 The Same
50 What Cannot Be Loved
51 Lore and Justice
52 The Body
54 Christ's Disregards
55 Easy to Please and Hard to Satisfy
56 The Moral Law
58 The Rich Young Man
59 Law and Spirit
60 Our Nonage
62 Living Forever
63 Be Ye Perfect
64 Carrion Comfort
65 The Same
66 How Hard?
69 The Torment of Death
70 The Utility of Death
71 Not the Rich Only
72 Fearful Thinking
74 The Sacred Present
76 Not the Rich Only
78 The Sacred Present
80 Shaky Foundations
84 God at the Door
86 Vain Vigilance
89 Knowledge That Would Be Useless
91 Why Should It Be Necessary?
92 The Conditions of a Good Gift
93 False Spirituality
94 Small Prayers
95 Riches and Need
97 Divine Freedom
99 The Miracles of Our Lord
100 They Have No Wine
101 Intercessory Prayer
102 The Eternal Revolt
103 They .Say It Does Them Good
104 Perfected Prayer
105 Corrective Granting
106 Why We Must Wait
107 Gods Vengeance
108 The Way of Understanding
109 Penal Blindness
111 Agree with the Adversary Quickly
112 The Inexorable
113 Christ Our Righteousness
114 Agree Quickly
115 Duties to an Enemy
116 The Prison
117 Not Good to Be Alone
118 Be Ye Perfect
119 The Heart
120 Precious Blame
121 The Same
122 Man Glorified
123 Life in the Word
124 The Office of Christ
125 The Slowness of the New Creation
126 The New Creation
128 The Work of the Father
129 The End
131 The Two Worst Heresies
132 Christian Growth
133 Life and Shadow
134 False Refuge
135 A Silly Notion
138 The Lower Forms
140 The Eternal Round
141 The Great One Life
142 The Beginning of Wisdom
143 "Peace in Our Time"
144 Divine Fire
145 The Safe Place
146 God and Death
148 False Want
149 A Man's Right
151 The Same
154 The Close of the Book of Job
155 The Way
158 Killing the Nerve
160 My Yoke Is Easy
161 We Must Be Jealous
162 Facing Both Ways
163 The Careless Soul
164 There Is No Merit in It
166 The Misguided
167 The Way
168 The First and Second Persons
171 The Unknowable
173 The Two First Persons
174 The Imitation of Christ
175 Pain and Joy
176 "By Him All Things Consist"
177 "In Him Was Life"
178 Why We Have Not Christs "Ipsissima Verba"
180 On Bad Religious Art
181 How to Read the Epistles
182 The Entrance of Christ
183 The Same
184 The Uses of Nature
185 Natural Science
186 The Value of Analysis
189 Truth of Things
192 Why free Will Was Permitted
193 Eternal Death
194 The Redemption of Our Nature
195 No Mystery
196 The Live Truth
197 Likeness to Christ
198 Grace and Freedom
199 Glorious Liberty
200 No Middle Way
201 On Having One's Own Way
202 The Death of Christ
204 The Lie
205 The Author's Fear
207 First Things First
208 Inexorable Love
210 Charity and Orthodoxy
212 Inexorable Love
213 The Holy Ghost
214 The Sense of Sin
215 Mean Theologies
216 On Believing III of God
221 The Same
222 The God of Remembrance
224 Abraham's Faith
225 The Same
226 Perception of Duties
227 Righteousness of Faith
228 The Same
229 Reckoned unto Us for Righteousness
230 St. Paul's Faith
231 The Full-Grown Christian
232 Revealed to Babes
234 Useless Knowledge
235 The Art of Being Created
236 When We Do Not Find Him
238 On One's Critics
239 Free Will
240 On Idle Tongues
241 Do We Love Light?
243 The Wakening
244 The Wakening of the Rich
247 The Slow Descent
248 Justice and Revenge
249 Recognition Hereafter
250 From Dante
251 What God Means by "Good"
252 All Things from God
253 Absolute Being
255 Diversity of Souls
256 The Disillusioned
258 The Loss of the Shadow
260 From Spring to Summer
261 The Door into Life
262 A Lonely Religion
264 A False Method
275 Psychical Research
276 The Blotting Out
277 On a Chapter in Isaiah
279 No Other Way
281 Criterion of a True Vision
282 One Reason for Sex
283 Easy Work
286 For Parents
288 Today and Yesterday
289 Obstinate Illusion
291 Lost in the Mountains
292 The Birth of Persecution
293 Daily Death
294 On Duty to Oneself
295 A Theory of Sleep
296 Sacred Idleness
297 The Modern Bane
302 The Impervious Soul
303 An Old Garden
306 A Hard Saying
308 On Asking Advice
309 No Heel Taps
310 Silence Before the Judge
311 Nothing So Deadening
312 Rounding and Completion
314 The Eternal Now
315 The Silences Below
318 Things Rare and Common
319 Holy Laughter
320 The Self
323 A Bad Conscience
325 Scrubbing the Cell
326 The Mystery of Evil
331 How To Become a Dunce
333 Preacher's Repentance
336 The House Is Not for Me
338 The Day's First Job
339 Obstinate Illusion
340 The Rules of Conversation
341 A Neglected Form of Justice
343 Thou Shall Not Make Any Graven Image
344 How to Become a Dunce
345 Our Insolvency
346 A Sad Pity 14*
347 On Method
350 The Root of All Rebellion
351 Two Silly Young Women
354 Counting the Cost
357 The Lobster Pot
358 The First Meeting
360 The Wrong Way with Anxiety
364 The Mystery of Evil
365 The Last Resource
all that I know of George MacDonald I have learned either from his own
books or from the biography (George MacDonald and His Wife) which his son,
Dr. Greville MacDonald, published in 1924; nor have I ever, but once, talked
of him to anyone who had met him. For the very few facts which I am going to
mention I am therefore entirely dependent on Dr. MacDonald.
We have learned from Freud and others about those distortions in
character and errors in thought which result from a man's early conflicts
with his father. Far the most important thing we can know about George
MacDonald is that his whole life illustrates the opposite process. An almost
perfect relationship with his father was the earthly root of all his wisdom.
From his own father, he said, he first learned that Fatherhood must be at
the core of the universe. He was thus prepared in an unusual way to teach
that religion in which the relation of Father and Son is of all relations
the most central.
His father appears to have been a remarkable man - a man hard, and
tender, and humorous all at once, in the old fashion of Scotch Christianity.
He had had his leg cut off above the knee in the days before chloroform,
refusing the customary dose of preliminary whisky, and "only for one moment,
when the knife first transfixed the flesh, did he turn his face away and
ejaculate a faint, sibilant whiff." He had quelled with a fantastic joke at
his own expense an ugly riot in which he was being burned in effigy. He
forbade his son to touch a saddle until he had learned to ride well without
one. He advised him "to give over the fruitless game of poetry." He asked
from him, and obtained, a promise to renounce tobacco at the age of
twenty-three. On the other hand he objected to grouse shooting on the score
of cruelty and had in general a tenderness for animals not very usual among
farmers more than a hundred years ago; and his son reports that he never, as
boy or man, asked him for anything without getting what he asked. Doubtless
this tells us as much about the son's character as the father's and should
be taken in connection with our extract on prayer (104). "He who seeks the
Father more than anything He can give, is likely to have what he asks, for
he is not likely to ask amiss." The theological maxim is rooted in the
experiences of the author's childhood. This is what may be called the
"anti-Freudian predicament" in operation.
George MacDonald's family (though hardly his father) were of course
Calvinists. On the intellectual side his history is largely a history of
escape from the theology in which he had been brought up. Stories of such
emancipation are common in the nineteenth century; but George MacDonald's
story belongs to this familiar pattern only with a difference. In most such
stories the emancipated person, not content with repudiating the doctrines,
comes also to hate the persons, of his forebears, and even the whole culture
and way of life with which they are associated. Thus books like The Way of
All flesh come to be written; and later generations, if they do not swallow
the satire wholesale as history, at least excuse the author for a
one-sidedness which a man in his circumstances could hardly have been
expected to avoid. Of such personal resentment I find no trace in MacDonald.
It is not we who have to find extenuating circumstances for his point of
view. On the contrary, it is he himself, in the very midst of his
intellectual revolt, who forces us, whether we will or no, to see elements
of real and perhaps irreplaceable worth in the thing from which he is
All his life he continued to love the rock from which he had been hewn.
All that is best in his novels carries us back to that "kaleyard" world of
granite and heather, of bleaching greens beside burns that look as if they
flowed not with water but with stout, to the thudding of wooden machinery,
the oatcakes, the fresh milk, the pride, the poverty, and the passionate
love of hard-won learning. His best characters are those which reveal how
much real charity and spiritual wisdom can coexist with the profession of a
theology that seems to encourage neither. His own grandmother, a truly
terrible old woman wo had burnt his uncle's fiddle as a Satanic snare, might
well have appeared to him as what is now (inaccurately) called "a mere
sadist." Yet when something very like her is delineated in Robert Falconer
and again in What's Mine's Mine, we are compelled to look deeper-to see,
inside the repellent crust, something that we can wholeheartedly pity and
even, with reservations, respect. In this way MacDonald illustrates, not the
doubtful maxim that to know all is to forgive all, but the unshakeable truth
that to forgive is to know. He who loves, sees.
He was born in 1824 at Huntly in Aberdeenshire and entered King's
College at Aberdeen in 1840. In 1842 he spent some months in the North of
Scotland cataloguing the library of a great house which has never been
identified. I mention the fact because it made a lifelong impression on
MacDonald. The image of a great house seen principally from the library and
always through the eyes of a stranger or a dependent (even Mr. Vane in
Lilith never seems at home in the library which is called his) haunts his
books to the end. It is therefore reasonable to suppose that the "great
house in the North" was the scene of some important crisis or development in
his life. Perhaps it was here that he first came under the influence of
In 1850 he received what is technically known as a "Call" to become the
Minister of a dissenting chapel in Arundel. By 1852 he was in trouble with
the "deacons" for heresy, the charges being that he had expressed belief in
a future state of probation for heathens and that he was tainted with German
theology. The deacons took a roundabout method to be rid of him, by lowering
his salary-it had been Ј150 a year and he was now married-in the hope that
this would induce him to resign. But they had misjudged their man. MacDonald
merely replied that this was bad enough news for him but that he supposed he
must try to live on less. And for some time he continued to do so, often
helped by the offerings of his poorest parishioners who did not share the
views of the more prosperous Deacons. In 1853, however, the situation became
impossible. He resigned and embarked on the career of lecturing, tutoring,
occasional preaching, writing, and "odd jobs" which was his lot almost to
the end. He died in 1905.
His lungs were diseased and his poverty was very great. Literal
starvation was sometimes averted only by those last moment deliverances
which agnostics attribute to chance and Christians to Providence. It is
against this background of reiterated failure and incessant peril that some
of the following extracts can be most profitably read. His resolute
condemnations of anxiety come from one who has a right to speak; nor does
their tone encourage the theory that they owe anything to the pathological
wishful thinking-the spes phthisica-of the consumptive. None of the evidence
suggests such a character. His peace of mind came not from building on the
future but from resting in what he called "the holy Present." His
resignation to poverty (see Number 274) was at the opposite pole from that
of the stoic. He appears to have been a sunny, playful man, deeply
appreciative of all really beautiful and delicious things that money can
buy, and no less deeply content to do without them. It is perhaps
significant-it is certainly touching-that his chief recorded weakness was a
Highland love of finery; and he was all his life hospitable as only the poor
In making these extracts I have been concerned with MacDonald not as a
writer but as a Christian teacher. If I were to deal with him as a writer, a
man of letters, I should be faced with a difficult critical problem. If we
define Literature as an art whose medium is words, then certainly MacDonald
has no place in its first rank- perhaps not even in its second. There are
indeed passages, many of them in this collection, where the wisdom and (I
would dare to call it) the holiness that are in him triumph over and even
burn away the baser elements in his style: the expression becomes precise,
weighty, economic; acquires a cutting edge. But he does not maintain this
level for long. The texture of his writing as a whole is undistinguished, at
times fumbling. Bad pulpit traditions cling to it; there is sometimes a
nonconformist verbosity, sometimes an old Scotch weakness for florid
ornament (it runs right through them from Dunbar to the Waverly Novels),
sometimes an oversweetness picked up from Novalis. But this does not quite
dispose of him even for the literary critic. What he does best is
fantasy-fantasy that hovers between the allegorical and the mythopoeic. And
this, in my opinion, he does better than any man. The critical problem with
which we are confronted is whether this art-the art of myth-making-is a
species of the literary art. The objection to so classifying it is that the
Myth does not essentially exist in words at all. We all agree that the story
of Balder is a great myth, a thing of inexhaustible value. But of whose
version-whose words-are we thinking when we say this?
For my own part, the answer is that I am not thinking of anyone's
-words. No poet, as far as I know or can remember, has told this story
supremely well. I am not thinking of any particular version of it. If the
story is anywhere embodied in words, that is almost an accident.
What really delights and nourishes me is a particular pattern of
events, which would equally delight and nourish if it had reached me by some
medium which involved no words at all-say by a mime, or a film. And I find
this to be true of all such stories. When I think of the story of the
Argonauts and praise it, I am not praising Apollonius Rhodius (whom I never
finished) nor Kingsley (whom I have forgotten) nor even Morris, though I
consider his version a very pleasant poem. In this respect stories of the
mythical type are at the opposite pole from lyrical poetry. If you try to
take the "theme" of Keats's Nightingale apart from the very words in which
he has embodied it, you find that you are talking about almost nothing. Form
and content can there be separated only by a fake abstraction. But in a
myth-in a story where the mere pattern of events is all that matters-this is
not so. Any means of communication whatever which succeeds in lodging those
events in our imagination has, as we say, "done the trick." After that you
can throw the means of communication away. To be sure, if the means of
communication are words, it is desirable that a letter which brings you
important news should be fairly written. But this is only a minor
convenience; for the letter will, in any case, go into the wastepaper basket
as soon as you have mastered its contents, and the words (those of Lempriere
would have done) are going to be forgotten as soon as you have mastered the
Myth. In poetry the words are the body and the "theme" or "content" is the
soul. But in myth the imagined events are the body and something
inexpressible is the soul: the words, or mime, or film, or pictorial series
are not even clothes-they are not much more than a telephone. Of this I had
evidence some years ago when I first heard the story of Kafka's Castle
related in conversation and afterwards read the book for myself. The reading
added nothing. I had already received the myth, which was all that mattered.
Most myths were made in prehistoric times, and, I suppose, not
consciously made by individuals at all. But every now and then there occurs
in the modern world a genius-a Kafka or a Novalis-who can make such a story.
MacDonald is the greatest genius of this kind whom I know. But I do not know
how to classify such genius. To call it literary genius seems unsatisfactory
since it can coexist with great inferiority in the art of words-nay, since
its connection with words at all turns out to be merely external and, in a
sense, accidental. Nor can it be fitted into any of the other arts. It
begins to look as if there were an art, or a gift, which criticism has
largely ignored. It may even be one of the greatest arts; for it produces
works which give us (at the first meeting) as much delight and (on prolonged
acquaintance) as much wisdom and strength as the works of the greatest
poets. It is in some ways more akin to music than to poetry-or at least to
most poetry. It goes beyond the expression of things we have already felt.
It arouses in us sensations we have never had before, never anticipated
having, as though we had broken out of our normal mode of consciousness and
"possessed joys not promised to our birth." It gets under our skin, hits us
at a level deeper than our thoughts or even our passions, troubles oldest
certainties till all questions are reopened, and in general shocks us more
fully awake than we are for most of our lives.
It was in this mythopoeic art that MacDonald excelled. And from this it
follows that his best art is least represented in this collection. The great
works are Phantastes, the Curdie books, The Golden Key, The Wise Woman, and
Lilith. From them, just because they are supremely good in their own kind,
there is little to be extracted. The meaning, the suggestion, the radiance,
is incarnate in the whole story: it is only by chance that you find any
detachable merits. The novels, on the other hand, have yielded me a rich
crop. This does not mean that they are good novels. Necessity made MacDonald
a novelist, but few of his novels are good and none is very good. They are
best when they depart most from the canons of novel writing, and that in two
directions. Sometimes they depart in order to come nearer to fantasy, as in
the whole character of the hero in Sir Gibbie or the opening chapters of
Wilfred Cumbermede. Sometimes they diverge into direct and prolonged
preachments which would be intolerable if a man were reading for the story,
but which are in fact welcome because the author, though a poor novelist, is
a supreme preacher. Some of his best things are thus hidden in his dullest
books: my task here has been almost one of exhumation. I am speaking so far
of the novels as I think they would appear if judged by any reasonably
objective standard. But it is, no doubt, true that any reader who loves
holiness and loves MacDonald-yet perhaps he will need to love Scotland
too-can find even in the worst of them something that disarms criticism and
will come to feel a queer, awkward charm in their very faults. (But that, of
course, is what happens to us with all favorite authors.) One rare, and all
but unique, merit these novels must be allowed. The "good" characters are
always the best and most convincing. His saints live; his villains are
This collection, as I have said, was designed not to revive MacDonald's
literary reputation but to spread his religious teaching. Hence most of my
extracts are taken from the three volumes of Unspoken Sermons. My own debt
to this book is almost as great as one man can owe to another: and nearly
all serious inquirers to whom I have introduced it acknowledge that it has
given them great help-sometimes indispensable help toward the very
acceptance of the Christian faith.
I will attempt no historical or theological classification of
MacDonald's thought, partly because I have not the learning to do so, still
more because I am no great friend to such pigeonholing. One very effective
way of silencing the voice of conscience is to impound in an Ism the teacher
through whom it speaks: the trumpet no longer seriously disturbs our rest
when we have murmured "Thomist," "Barthian," or "Existentialist." And in
Mac-Donald it is always the voice of conscience that speaks. He addresses
the will: the demand for obedience, for "something to be neither more nor
less nor other than done" is incessant. Yet in that very voice of conscience
every other faculty somehow speaks as well-intellect, and imagination, and
humor, and fancy, and all the affections; and no man in modern times was
perhaps more aware of the distinction between Law and Gospel, the inevitable
failure of mere morality. The Divine Sonship is the key-conception which
unites all the different elements of his thought. I dare not say that he is
never in error; but to speak plainly I know hardly any other writer who
seems to be closer, or more continually close, to the Spirit of Christ
Himself. Hence his Christ-like union of tenderness and severity. Nowhere
else outside the New Testament have I found terror and comfort so
intertwined. The title "Inexorable Love" which I have given to several
individual extracts would serve for the whole collection. Inexorability-but
never the inexorability of anything less than love-runs through it like a
refrain; "escape is hopeless"-"agree quickly with your
adversary"-"compulsion waits behind"-"the uttermost farthing will be
exacted." Yet this urgency never becomes shrill. All the sermons are
suffused with a spirit of love and wonder which prevents it from doing so.
MacDonald shows God threatening, but (as Jeremy Taylor says) "He threatens
terrible things if we will not be happy."
In many respects MacDonald's thought has, in a high degree, just those
excellences which his period and his personal history would lead us to
expect least. A romantic, escaping from a drily intellectual theology, might
easily be betrayed into valuing mere emotion and "religious experience" too
highly: but in fact few nineteenth-century writers are more firmly catholic
in relegating feeling to its proper place. (See Numbers 1, 27, 28, 37, 39,
351.) His whole philosophy of Nature (Numbers 52, 67, 150, 151, 184, 185,
187, 188, 189, 285) with its resolute insistence on the concrete, owes
little to the thought of an age which hovered between mechanism and
idealism; he would obviously have been more at home with Professor Whitehead
than with Herbert Spencer or T. H. Green. Number 285 seems to me
particularly admirable. All romantics are vividly aware of mutability, but
most of them are content to bewail it: for MacDonald this nostalgia is
merely the starting point-he goes on and discovers what it is made for. His
psychology also is worth noticing: he is quite as well aware as the moderns
that the conscious self, the thing revealed by introspection, is a
superficies. Hence the cellars and attics of the King's castle in The
Princess and the Goblins, and the terror of his own house which falls upon
Mr. Vane in Lilith: hence also his formidable critique (201) of our daily
assumptions about the self. Perhaps most remarkable of all is the function-a
low and primitive, yet often indispensable function-which he allows to Fear
in the spiritual life (Numbers 3, 5, 6, 7, 137, 142, 143, 349). Reaction
against early teachings might on this point have very easily driven him into
a shallow liberalism. But it does not. He hopes, indeed, that all men will
be saved; but that is because he hopes that all will repent. He knows (none
better) that even omnipotence cannot save the uncoverted. He never trifles
with eternal impossibilities. He is as golden and genial as Traherne; but
also as astringent as the Imitation.
So at least I have found him. In making this collection I was
discharging a debt of justice. I have never concealed the fact that I
regarded him as my master; indeed I fancy I have never written a book in
which I did not quote from him. But it has not seemed to me that those who
have received my books kindly take even now sufficient notice of the
affiliation. Honesty drives me to emphasize it. And even if honesty did
not-well, I am a don, and "source-hunting" (Quellenforschung) is perhaps in
my marrow. It must be more than thirty years ago that I bought-almost
unwillingly, for I had looked at the volume on that bookstall and rejected
it on a dozen previous occasions-the Everyman edition of Phantasies. A few
hours later I knew that I had crossed a great frontier. I had already been
waist-deep in Romanticism; and likely enough, at any moment, to flounder
into its darker and more evil forms, slithering down the steep descent that
leads from the love of strangeness to that of eccentricity and thence to
that of perversity. Now Phantasies was romantic enough in all conscience;
but there was a difference. Nothing was at that time further from my
thoughts than Christianity and I therefore had no notion what this
difference really was. I was only aware that if this new world was strange,
it was also homely and humble; that if this was a dream, it was a dream in
which one at least felt strangely vigilant; that the whole book had about it
a sort of cool, morning innocence, and also, quite unmistakably, a certain
quality of Death, good Death. What it actually did to me was to convert,
even to baptize (that was where the Death came in) my imagination. It did
nothing to my intellect nor (at that time) to my conscience. Their turn came
far later and with the help of many other books and men. But when the
process was complete-by which, of course, I mean "when it had really
begun"-I found that I was still with MacDonald and that he had accompanied
me all the way and that I was now at last ready to hear from him much that
he could not have told me at that first meeting. But in a sense, what he was
now telling me was the very same that he had told me from the beginning.
There was no question of getting through to the kernel and throwing away the
shell: no question of a gilded pill. The pill was gold all through.
The quality which had enchanted me in his imaginative works turned out
to be the quality of the real universe, the divine, magical, terrifying, and
ecstatic reality in which we all live. I should have been shocked in my
teens if anyone had told me that what I learned to love in Phantastes was
goodness. But now that I know, I see there was no deception. The deception
is all the other way round-in that prosaic moralism which confines goodness
to the region of Law and Duty, which never lets us feel in our face the
sweet air blowing from "the land of righteousness," never reveals that
elusive Form which if once seen must inevitably be desired with all but
sensuous desire-the thing (in Sappho's phrase) "more gold than gold."
It is no part of my aim to produce a critical text of MacDonald. Apart
from my unconscious errors in transcription, I have "tampered" in two ways.
The whole difficulty of making extracts is to leave the sense perfectly
clear while not retaining anything you do not want. In attempting to do so,
I have sometimes interpolated a word (always enclosed in brackets) and
sometimes altered the punctuation. I have also introduced a capital H for
pronouns that refer to God, which the printer, in some of my originals, did
not employ; not because I consider this typographical reverence of much
importance, but because, in a language where pronouns are so easily confused
as they are in English, it seems foolish to reject such an aid to clarity.
- C. S. lewis
[ 1 ] Dryness
That man is perfect in faith who can come to God in the utter dearth
of his feelings and desires, without a glow or an aspiration, with the
weight of low thoughts, failures, neglects, and wandering forgetfulness, and
say to Him, "Thou art my refuge."*
* The source of this quotation and of the subsequent quotations will be
found in "Sources,"
[ 2 ] Inexorable Love
Nothing is inexorable but love. Love which will yield to prayer is
imperfect and poor. Nor is it then the love that yields, but its alloy. . .
. For love loves unto purity. Love has ever in view the absolute loveliness
of that which it beholds. Where loveliness is incomplete, and love cannot
love its fill of loving, it spends itself to make more lovely, that it may
love more; it strives for perfection, even that itself may be perfected-not
in itself, but in the object. . . . Therefore all that is not beautiful in
the beloved, all that comes between and is not of love's kind, must be
destroyed. And our God is a consuming fire.
[ 3 ] Divine Burning
He will shake heaven and earth, that only the unshakable may remain: he
is a consuming fire, that only that which cannot be consumed may stand forth
eternal. It is the nature of God, so terribly pure that it destroys all that
is not pure as fire, which demands like purity in our worship. He will have
purity. It is not that the fire will burn us if we do not worship thus; yea,
will go on burning within us after all that is foreign to it has yielded to
its force, no longer with pain and consuming, but as the highest
consciousness of life, the presence of God.
[ 4 ] The Beginning of Wisdom
How should the Hebrews be other than terrified at that which was
opposed to all they knew of themselves, beings judging it good to honor a
golden calf? Such as they were, they did well to be afraid. ... Fear is
nobler than sensuality. Fear is better than no God, better than a god made
with hands. ... The worship of fear is true, although very low: and though
not acceptable to God in itself, for only the worship of spirit and of truth
is acceptable to Him, yet even in his sight it is precious. For He regards
men not as they are merely, but as they shall be; not as they shall be
merely, but as they are now growing, or capable of growing, toward that
image after which He made them that they might grow to it. Therefore a
thousand stages, each in itself all but valueless, are of inestimable worth
as the necessary and connected gradations of an infinite progress. A
condition which of declension would indicate a devil, may of growth indicate
[ 5 ] The Unawakened
Can it be any comfort to them to be told that God loves them so that He
will burn them clean? . . . They do not want to be clean, and they cannot
bear to be tortured.
[ 6 ] Sinai
And is not God ready to do unto them even as they fear, though with
another feeling and a different end from any which they are capable of
supposing? He is against sin: insofar as, and while, they and sin are one,
He is against them-against their desires, their aims, their fears, and their
hopes; and thus He is altogether and always for them. That thunder and
lightning and tempest, that blackness torn with the sound of a trumpet, that
visible horror billowed with the voice of words, was all but a faint image
... of what God thinks and feels against vileness and selfishness, of the
unrest of unassuageable repulsion with which He regards such conditions.
[ 7 ] No
When we say that God is Love, do we teach men that their fear of Him is
groundless? No. As much as they fear will come upon them, possibly far more.
. . . The wrath will consume what they call themselves; so that the selves
God made shall appear.
[ 8 ] The Law of Nature
For that which cannot be shaken shall remain. That which is immortal in
God shall remain in man. The death that is in them shall be consumed. It is
the law of Nature- that is, the law of God-that all that is destructible
shall be destroyed.
[ 9 ] Escape Is Hopeless
The man whose deeds are evil, fears the burning. But the burning will
not come the less that he fears it or denies it. Escape is hopeless. For
Love is inexorable. Our God is a consuming fire. He shall not come out till
he has paid the uttermost farthing.
[ 10 ] The Word
But herein is the Bible itself greatly wronged. It nowhere lays claim
to be regarded as the Word, the Way, the Truth. The Bible leads us to Jesus,
the inexhaustible, the ever unfolding Revelation of God. It is Christ "in
whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge," not the Bible, save
as leading to Him.
[ 11 ] I Knew a Child
I knew a child who believed she had committed the sin against the Holy
Ghost, because she had, in her toilette, made an improper use of a pin. Dare
not to rebuke me for adducing the diseased fancy of a child in a weighty
matter of theology. "Despise not one of these little ones." Would the
theologians were as near the truth in such matters as the children. Diseased
fancy! The child knew, and was conscious that she knew, that she was doing
wrong because she had been forbidden. There was rational ground for her
fear. . . . He would not have told her she was silly, and "never to mind."
Child as she was, might He not have said to her, "I do not condemn thee: and
go and sin no more"?
 Spiritual Murder
It may be an infinitely less evil to murder a man than to refuse to
forgive him. The former may be the act of a moment of passion: the latter is
the heart's choice. It is spiritual murder, the worst, to hate, to brood
over the feeling that excludes, that, in our microcosm, kills the image, the
idea of the hated.
[ 13 ] Impossibilities
No man who will not forgive his neighbor, can believe that God is
willing, yea wanting, to forgive him.... If God said, "I forgive you" to a
man who hated his brother, and if (as impossible) that voice of forgiveness
should reach the man, what would it mean to him? How much would the man
interpret it? Would it not mean to him "You may go on hating. I do not mind
it. You have had great provocation and are justified in your hate"? No doubt
God takes what wrong there is, and what provocation there is, into the
account: but the more provocation, the more excuse that can be urged for the
hate, the more reason, if possible, that the hater should be delivered from
the hell of his hate. . . . The man would think, not that God loved the
sinner, but that he forgave the sin, which God never does [i.e. What is
usually called "forgiving the sin" means forgiving the sinner and destroying
the sin]. Every sin meets with its due fate-inexorable expulsion from the
paradise of God's Humanity. He loves the sinner so much that He cannot
forgive him in any other way than by banishing from his bosom the demon that
[ 14 ] Truth is Truth
Truth is truth, whether from the lips of Jesus or Balaam.
[ 15 ] The White Stone (Revelations 2:17)
The giving of the white stone with the new name is the communication of
what God thinks about the man to the man. It is the divine judgment, the
solemn holy doom of the righteous man, the "Come, thou blessed," spoken to
the individual. . . . The true name is one which expresses the character,
the nature, the meaning of the person who bears it. It is the man's own
symbol -his soul's picture, in a word-the sign which belongs to him and to
no one else. Who can give a man this, his own name? God alone. For no one
but God sees what the man is. ... It is only when the man has become his
name that God gives him the stone with the name upon it, for then first can
he understand what his name signifies. It is the blossom, the perfection,
the completeness, that determines the name: and God foresees that from the
first because He made it so: but the tree of the soul, before its blossom
comes, cannot understand what blossom it is to bear and could not know what
the word meant, which, in representing its own unarrived completeness, named
itself. Such a name cannot be given until the man is the name. God's name
for a man must be the expression of His own idea of the man, that being whom
He had in His thought when he began to make the child, and whom He kept in
His thought through the long process of creation that went to realize the
idea. To tell the name is to seal the success-to say "In thee also I am well
[ 16 ] Personality
The name is one "which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it." Not
only then has each man his individual relation to God, but each man has his
peculiar relation to God. He is to God a peculiar being, made after his own
fashion, and that of no one else. Hence he can worship God as no man else
can worship Him.
[ 17 ] The Secret In Man
For each, God has a different response. With every man He has a
secret-the secret of a new name. In every man there is a loneliness, an
inner chamber of peculiar life into which God only can enter. I say not it
is the innermost chamber.
[ 18 ] The Secrets in God
There is a chamber also (O God, humble and accept my speech)-a chamber
in God Himself, into which none can enter but the one, the individual, the
peculiar man-out of which chamber that man has to bring revelation and
strength for his brethren. This is that for which he was made-to reveal the
secret things of the Father.
[ 19 ] No Massing
There is no massing of men with God. When he speaks of gathered men, it
is as a spiritual body, not as a mass.
[ 2O ] No Comparing
Here there is no room for ambition. Ambition is the desire to be above
one's neighbor; and here there is no possibility of comparison with one's
neighbor: no one knows what the white stone contains except the man who
receives it.... Relative worth is not only unknown -to the children of the
Kingdom it is unknowable.
[ 23 ] Caverns and Films
If God sees that heart corroded with the rust of cares, riddled into
caverns and films by the worms of ambition and greed, then your heart is as
God sees it, for God sees things as they are. And one day you will be
compelled to see, nay, to feel your heart as God sees it.
[ 21 ] The End
"God has cared to make me for Himself," says the victor with the white
stone, "And has called me that which I like best."
[ 22 ] Moth and Rust
What is with the treasure must fare as the treasure. . .. The heart
which haunts the treasure house where the moth and rust corrupt, will be
exposed to the same ravages as the treasure.... Many a man, many a woman,
fair and flourishing to see, is going about with a rusty moth-eaten heart
within that form of strength or beauty. "But this is only a figure." True.
But is the reality intended, less or more than the figure?
[ 24 ] Various Kinds of Moth
Nor does the lesson apply to those only who worship Mammon. ... It
applies to those equally who in any way worship the transitory; who seek the
praise of men more than the praise of God; who would make a show in the
world by wealth, by taste, by intellect, by power, by art, by genius of any
kind, and so would gather golden opinions to be treasured in a storehouse of
earth. Nor to such only, but surely to those as well whose pleasures are of
a more evidently transitory nature still, such as the pleasures of the
senses in every direction- whether lawfully indulged, if the joy of being is
centered in them-do these words bear terrible warning. For the hurt lies not
in this-that these pleasures are false like the deceptions of magic, for
such they are not; . . . nor yet in this-that they pass away and leave a
fierce disappointment behind; that is only so much the better; but the hurt
lies in this-that the immortal, the infinite, created in the image of the
everlasting God, is housed with the fading and the corrupting, and clings to
them as its good-clings to them till it is infected and interpenetrated with
their proper diseases, which assume in it a form more terrible in proportion
to the superiority of its kind.
[ 25 ] Holy Scriptures
This story may not be just as the Lord told it, and yet may contain in
its mirror as much of the truth as we are able to receive, and as will
afford us scope for a life's discovery. The modifying influence of the human
channels may be essential to God's revealing mode.
[ 26 ] Command That These Stones Be Made Bread
The Father said, That is a stone. The Son would not say, That is a
loaf. No one creative Fiat shall contradict another. The Father and the Son
are of one mind. The Lord could hunger, could starve, but would not change
into another thing what His Father had made one thing. There was no such
change in the feeding of the multitudes. The fish and the bread were fish
and bread before. . . . There was in these miracles, and I think in all,
only a hastening of appearances: the doing of that in a day, which may
ordinarily take a thousand years, for with God time is not what it is with
us. He makes it... Nor does it render the process one whit more miraculous.
Indeed, the wonder of the growing corn is to me greater than the wonder of
feeding the thousands. It is easier to understand the creative power going
forth at once- immediately-than through the countless, the lovely, the
seemingly forsaken wonders of the cornfield.
[ 27 ] Religious Feeling
In the higher aspect of this first temptation, arising from the fact
that a man cannot feel the things he believes except under certain
conditions of physical well-being dependent upon food, the answer is the
same: A man does not live by his feelings any more than by bread.
[ 28 ] Dryness
And when he can no longer feel the truth, he shall not therefore die.
He lives because God is true; and he is able to know that he lives because
he knows, having once understood the word that God is truth. He believes in
the God of former vision, lives by that word therefore, when all is dark and
there is no vision.
[ 29 ] Presumption
"If ye have faith and doubt not, if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be
thou removed and cast into the sea, it shall be done." Good people . . .
have been tempted to tempt the Lord their God upon the strength of this
saying. . . . Happily for such, the assurance to which they would give the
name of faith generally fails them in time. Faith is that which, knowing the
Lord's will, goes and does it; or, not knowing it, stands and waits... But
to put God to the question in any other way than by saying, "What wilt thou
have me to do?" is an attempt to compel God to declare Himself, or to hasten
His work. . . . The man is therein dissociating himself from God so far
that, instead of acting by the divine will from within, he acts in God's
face, as it were, to see what He will do. Man's first business is, "What
does God want me to do?", not "What will God do if I do so and so?"
[ 30 ] The Knowledge of God
To say Thou art God, without knowing what the Thou means-of what use is
it? God is a name only, except we know God.
[ 31] The Passion
It is with the holiest fear that we should approach the terrible fact
of the sufferings of Our Lord. Let no one think that these were less because
He was more. The more delicate the nature, the more alive to all that is
lovely and true, lawful and right, the more does it feel the antagonism of
pain, the inroad of death upon life; the more dreadful is that breach of the
harmony of things whose sound is torture.
[ 32 ] Eli, Eli
He could not see, could not feel Him near; and yet it is "My God" that
He cries. Thus the Will of Jesus, in the very moment when His faith seems
about to yield is finally triumphant. It has no feeling now to support it,
no beatific vision to absorb it. It stands naked in His soul and tortured,
as He stood naked and scourged before Pilate. Pure and simple and surrounded
by fire, it declares for God.
[ 33 ] The Same
Without this last trial of all, the temptations of our Master had not
been so full as the human cup could hold; there would have been one region
through which we had to pass wherein we might call aloud upon our
Captain-Brother, and there would be no voice or hearing: He had avoided the
[ 34 ] Vicarious Desolation
This is the Faith of the Son of God. God withdrew, as it were, that the
perfect Will of the Son might arise and go forth to find the Will of the
Father. It is possible that even then He thought of the lost sheep who could
not believe that God was their Father; and for them, too, in all their loss
and blindness and unlove, cried, saying the word they might say, knowing for
them that God means Father and more.
[ 35 ] Creeping Christians
We are and remain such creeping Christians, because we look at
ourselves and not at Christ; because we gaze at the marks of our own soiled
feet, and the trail of our own defiled garments. . . . Each, putting his
foot in the footprint of the Master, and so defacing it, turns to examine
how far his neighbor's footprint corresponds with that which he still calk
the Master's, although it is but his own. Or, having committed a petty
fault, I mean a fault such as only a petty creature could commit, we mourn
over the defilement to ourselves, and the shame of it before our friends,
children, or servants, instead of hastening to make the due confession and
amends to our fellow, and then, forgetting our own paltry self with its
well-earned disgrace, lift up our eyes to the glory which alone will quicken
the true man in us, and kill the peddling creature we so wrongly call our
[ 36 ] Dryness
So long as we have nothing to say to God, nothing to do with Him, save
in the sunshine of the mind when we feel Him near us, we are poor creatures,
willed upon, not willing. . . . And how in such a condition do we generally
act? Do we sit mourning over the loss of feeling? Or worse, make frantic
efforts to rouse them?
[ 37 ] The Use of Dryness
God does not, by the instant gift of His Spirit, make us always feel
right, desire good, love purity, aspire after Him and His Will. Therefore
either He will not, or He cannot. If He will not, it must be because it
would not be well to do so. If He cannot, then He would not if He could;
else a better condition than God's is conceivable to the mind of God. . . .
The truth is this: He wants to make us in His own image, choosing the good,
refusing the evil. How should He effect this if He were always moving us
from within, as He does at divine intervals, toward the beauty of holiness?
. . . For God made our individuality as well as, and a greater marvel than,
our dependence; made our apartness from Himself, that freedom should bind us
divinely dearer to Himself, with a new and inscrutable marvel of love; for
the Godhead is still at the root, is the making root of our individuality,
and the freer the man, the stronger the bond that binds him to Him who made
[ 38 ] The Highest Condition of the Human Will
The highest condition of the human will is in sight.... I say not the
highest condition of the Human Being; that surely lies in the Beatific
Vision, in the sight of God. But the highest condition of the Human Will, as
distinct, not as separated from God, is when, not seeing God, not seeming to
itself to grasp Him at all, it yet holds Him fast.
[ 39 ] Troubled Soul
Troubled soul, thou are not bound to feel but thou art bound to arise.
God loves thee whether thou feelest or not. Thou canst not love when thou
wilt, but thou art bound to fight the hatred in thee to the last. Try not to
feel good when thou art not good, but cry to Him who is good. He changes not
because thou changest. Nay, He has an especial tenderness of love toward
thee for that thou art in the dark and hast no light, and His heart is glad
when thou doest arise and say, "I will go to my Father." . . . Fold the arms
of thy faith, and wait in the quietness until light goes up in thy darkness.
For the arms of thy Faith I say, but not of thy Action: bethink thee of
something that thou oughtest to do, and, go to do it, if it be but the
sweeping of a room, or the preparing of a meal, or a visit to a friend. Heed
not thy feeling: Do thy work.
[ 40 ] Dangerous Moment
Am I going to do a good deed? Then, of all times- Father into thy
hands: lest the enemy should have me now.
[ 41 ] It Is Finished
... when the agony of death was over, when the storm of the world died
away behind His retiring spirit, and He entered the regions where there is
only life, and therefore all that is not music is silence...
[ 42 ] Members of One Another
We shall never be able, I say, to rest in the bosom of the Father, till
the fatherhood is fully revealed to us in the love of the brothers. For He
cannot be our Father, save as He is their Father; and if we do not see Him
and feel Him as their Father, we cannot know Him as ours.
[ 43 ] Originality
Our Lord never thought of being original.
[ 44 ] The Moral Law
Of what use then is the Law? To lead us to Christ, the Truth-to waken
in our minds a sense of what our deepest nature, the presence, namely, of
God in us, requires of us-to let us know, in part by failure, that the
purest efforts of will of which we are capable cannot lift us up even to the
abstaining from wrong to our neighbor.
[ 45 ] The Same
In order to fulfill the commonest law ... we must rise into a loftier
region altogether, a region that is above law, because it is spirit and life
and makes the law.
[ 46 ] Upward toward the Center
"But how," says a man, who is willing to recognize the universal
neighborhood, but finds himself unable to fulfill the bare law toward the
woman even whom he loves best-"How am I then to rise into that higher
region, that empyrean of love?" And, beginning straightaway to try to love
his neighbor, he finds that the empyrean of which he spoke is no more to be
reached in itself than the law was to be reached in itself. As he cannot
keep the law without first rising into the love of his neighbor, so he
cannot love his neighbor without first rising higher still. The whole system
of the universe works upon this law-the driving of things upward toward the
center. The man who will love his neighbor can do so by no immediately
operative exercise of the will. It is the man fulfilled of God from whom he
came and by whom he is, who alone can as himself love his neighbor who came
from God too and is by God too. The mystery of individuality and consequent
relation is deep as the beginnings of humanity, and the questions thence
arising can be solved only by him who has, practically at least, solved the
holy necessities resulting from his origin. In God alone can man meet man.
In Him alone the converging lines of existence touch and cross not. When the
mind of Christ, the life of the Head, courses through that atom which the
man is of the slowly revivifying body, when he is alive too, then the love
of the brothers is there as conscious life. ... It is possible to love our
neighbor as ourselves. Our Lord never spoke hyperbolically.
[ 47 ] No One Loves Because He Sees Why
Where a man does not love, the not-loving must seem rational. For no
one loves because he sees why, but because he loves. No human reason can be
given for the highest necessity of divinely created existence. For reasons
are always from above downward.
[ 48 ] My Neighbor
A man must not choose his neighbor: he must take the neighbor that God
sends him. . . . The neighbor is just the man who is next to you at the
moment, the man with whom any business has brought you into contact.
[ 49 ] The Same
The love of our neighbor is the only door out of the dungeon of self,
where we mope and mow, striking sparks, and rubbing phosphorescences out of
the walls, and blowing our own breath in our own nostrils, instead of
issuing to the fair sunlight of God, the sweet winds of the universe.
[ 50 ] What Cannot Be Loved
But how can we love a man or a woman who ... is mean, unlovely,
carping, uncertain, self-righteous, self-seeking, and self-admiring?-who can
even sneer, the most inhuman of human faults, far worse in its essence than
mere murder? These things cannot be loved. The best man hates them most; the
worst man cannot love them. But are these the man? . . . Lies there not
within the man and the woman a divine element of brotherhood, of sisterhood,
a something lovely and lovable- slowly fading, it may be-dying away under
the fierce heat of vile passions, or the yet more fearful cold of sepulchral
selfishness, but there? ... It is the very presence of this fading humanity
that makes it possible for us to hate. If it were an animal only, and not a
man or a woman, that did us hurt, we should not hate: we should only kill.
[ 51 ] Love and Justice
Man is not made for justice from his fellow, but for love, which is
greater than justice, and by including supersedes justice. Mere justice is
an impossibility, a fiction of analysis.... Justice to be justice must be
much more than justice. Love is the law of our condition, without which we
can no more render justice than a man can keep a straight line, walking in
[ 52 ] The Body
It is by the body that we come into contact with Nature, with our
fellowmen, with all their revelations to us. It is through the body that we
receive all the lessons of passion, of suffering, of love, of beauty, of
science. It is through the body that we are both trained outward from
ourselves, and driven inward into our deepest selves to find God. There is
glory and might in this vital evanescence, this slow glacierlike flow of
clothing and revealing matter, this ever uptossed rainbow of tangible
humanity. It is no less of God's making than the spirit that is clothed
[ 53 ] Goodness
The Father was all in all to the Son, and the Son no more thought of
His own goodness than an honest man thinks of his honesty. When the good man
sees goodness, he thinks of his own evil: Jesus had no evil to think of, but
neither does He think of His goodness: He delights in His Father's. "Why
callest thou Me good?"
[ 54 ] Christ's Disregards
The Lord cared neither for isolated truth nor for orphaned deed. It was
truth in the inward parts, it was the good heart, the mother of good deeds,
He cherished. ... It was good men He cared about, not notions of good
things, or even good actions, save as the outcome of life, save as the
bodies in which the primary live actions of love and will in the soul took
shape and came forth.
[ 55 ] Easy to Please and Hard to Satisfy
That no keeping but a perfect one will satisfy God, I hold with all my
heart and strength; but that there is none else He cares for, is one of the
lies of the enemy. What father is not pleased with the first tottering
attempt of his little one to walk? What father would be satisfied with
anything but the manly step of the full-grown son!
[ 56 ] The Moral Law
The immediate end of the commandments never was that men should succeed
in obeying them, but that, finding they could not do that which yet must be
done, finding the more they tried the more was required of them, they should
be driven to the source of life and law-of their life and His law-to seek
from Him such reinforcement of life as should make the fulfillment of the
law as possible, yea, as natural, as necessary.
[ 57 ] Bondage
A man is in bondage to whatever he cannot part with that is less than
[ 58 ] The Rich Young Man (Matthew 19: 16-22)
It was time . . . that he should refuse, that he should know what
manner of spirit he was of, and meet the confusions of soul, the sad
searchings of heart that must follow. A time comes to every man when he must
obey, or make such refusal-and know it. . . . The time will come, God only
knows its hour, when he will see the nature of his deed, with the knowledge
that he was dimly seeing it so even when he did it: the alternative had been
put before him.
[ 59 ] Law and Spirit
The commandments can never be kept while there is a strife to keep
them: the man is overwhelmed in the weight of their broken pieces. It needs
a clean heart to have pure hands, all the power of a live soul to keep the
law-a power of life, not of struggle; the strength of love, not the effort
[ 60 ] Our Nonage
The number of fools not yet acknowledging the first condition of
manhood nowise alters the fact that he who has begun to recognize duty and
acknowledge the facts of his being, is but a tottering child on the path of
life. He is on the path: he is as wise as at the time he can be; the
Father's arms are stretched out to receive him; but he is not therefore a
wonderful being; not therefore a model of wisdom; not at all the admirable
creature his largely remaining folly would, in his worst moments (that is,
when he feels best) persuade him to think himself; he is just one of God's
[ 61 ] Knowledge
Had he done as the Master told him, he would soon have come to
understand. Obedience is the opener of eyes.
[ 62 ] Living Forever
The poor idea of living forever, all that commonplace minds grasp at
for eternal life-(is) its mere concomitant shadow, in itself not worth
thinking about. When a man is ... one with God, what should he do but live
[ 63 ] Be Ye Perfect
"I cannot be perfect; it is hopeless; and He does not expect it." -It
would be more honest if he said, "I do not want to be perfect: I am content
to be saved." Such as he do not care for being perfect as their Father in
heaven is perfect, but for being what they called saved.
[ 64 ] Carrion Comfort
Or are you so well satisfied with what you are, that you have never
sought eternal life, never hungered and thirsted after the righteousness of
God, the perfection of your being? If this latter be your condition, then be
comforted; the Master does not require of you to sell what you have and give
to the poor. You follow Him! You go with Him to preach good tidings!-you who
care not for righteousness! You are not one whose company is desirable to
the Master. Be comforted, I say: He does not want you; He will not ask you
to open your purse for Him; you may give or withhold: it is nothing to Him.
... Go and keep the commandments. It is not come to your money yet. The
commandments are enough for you. You are not yet a child in the kingdom. You
do not care for the arms of your Father; you value only the shelter of His
roof. As to your money, let the commandments direct you how to use it. It is
in you but pitiable presumption to wonder whether it is required of you to
sell all that you have ... for the Young Man to have sold all and followed
Him would have been to accept God's patent of peerage: to you it is not
[ 65 ] The Same
Does this comfort you? Then alas for you! . . . Your relief is to know
that the Lord has no need of you- does not require you to part with your
money, does not offer you Himself instead. You do not indeed sell Him for
thirty pieces of silver, but you are glad not to buy Him with all that you
[ 66 ] How Hard?
This life, this Kingdom of God, this simplicity of absolute existence,
is hard to enter. How hard? As hard as the Master of salvation could find
words to express the hardness.
[ 67 ] Things
The man who for consciousness of well-being depends upon anything but
life, the life essential, is a slave; he hangs on what is less than
himself.... Things are given us-this body, first of things-that through them
we may be trained both to independence and true possession of them. We must
possess them; they must not possess us. Their use is to mediate-as shapes
and manifestations in lower kind of the things that are unseen, that is, in
themselves unseeable, the things that belong, not to the world of speech but
the world of silence, not to the world of showing, but the world of being,
the world that cannot be shaken, and must remain. These things unseen take
the form in the things of time and space- not that they may exist, for they
exist in and from eternal Godhead, but that their being may be known to
those in training for the eternal; these things unseen the sons and
daughters of God must possess. But instead of reaching out after them, they
grasp at their forms, regard the things seen as the things to be possessed,
fall in love with the bodies instead of the souls of them.
[ 68 ] Possession
He who has God, has all things, after the fashion in which He who made
them has them.
[ 69 ] The Torment of Death
It is imperative on us to get rid of the tyranny of things. See how
imperative: let the young man cling with every fiber to his wealth, what God
can do He will do; His child shall not be left in the Hell of possession.
Comes the angel of death-and where are the things that haunted the poor soul
with such manifold hindrance and obstruction? ... Is the man so freed from
the dominion of things? Does Death so serve him-so ransom him? . . . Not so;
for then first, I presume, does the man of things become aware of their
tyranny. When a man begins to abstain, then first he recognizes the strength
of his passion: it may be, when a man has not a thing left, he will begin to
know what a necessity he had made of things.
[ 70 ] The Utility of Death
Wherein then lies the service of Death? ... In this: it is not the
fetters that gall, but the fetters that soothe, which eat into the soul. In
this way is the loss of things ... a motioning, hardly toward, yet in favor
of, deliverance. It may seem to a man the first of his slavery when it is in
truth the beginning of his freedom. Never soul was set free without being
made to feel its slavery.
[ 71 ] Not the Rich Only
But it is not the rich man only who is under the dominion of things;
they too are slaves who, having no money, are unhappy from the lack of it.
[ 72 ] Fearful Thinking
Because we easily imagine ourselves in want, we imagine God ready to
[ 73 ] Miracles
The miracles of Jesus were the ordinary works of His Father, wrought
small and swift that we might take them in.
[ 74 ] The Sacred Present
The next hour, the next moment, is as much beyond our grasp and as much
in God's care, as that a hundred years away. Care for the next minute is
just as foolish as care for the morrow, or for a day in the next thousand
years-in neither can we do anything, in both God is doing everything. Those
claims only of the morrow which have to be prepared today are of the duty of
today: the moment which coincides with work to be done, is the moment to be
minded; the next is nowhere till God has made it.
[ 75 ] Forethought
If a man forget a thing, God will see to that: man is not Lord of his
memory or his intellect. But man is lord of his will, his action; and is
then verily to blame when, remembering a duty, he does not do it, but puts
it off, and Jo forgets it. If a man lay himself out to do the immediate duty
of the moment, wonderfully little forethought, I suspect, will be found
needful. That forethought only is right which has to determine duty, and
pass into action. To the foundation of yesterday's work well done, the work
of the morrow will be sure to fit. Work done is of more consequence for the
future than the foresight of an archangel.
[ 76 ] Not the Rich Only
If it be things that slay you, what matter whether things you have, or
things you have not?
[ 77 ] Care
Tomorrow makes today's whole head sick, its whole heart faint. When we
should be still, sleeping or dreaming, we are fretting about an hour that
lies a half sun's journey away! Not so doest thou, Lord; thou doest the work
of thy Father!
[ 78 ] The Sacred Present
The care that is filling your mind at this moment, or but waiting till
you lay the book aside to leap upon you -that need which is no need, is a
demon sucking at the spring of your life. "No; mine is a reasonable care- an
unavoidable care, indeed." Is it something you have to do this very moment?
"No." Then you are allowing it to usurp the place of something that is
required of you this moment. "There is nothing required of me at this
moment." Nay but there is-the greatest thing that can be required of man.
"Pray, what is it?" Trust in the living God.... "I do trust Him in spiritual
matters." Everything is an affair of the spirit.
[ 79 ] Heaven
For the only air of the soul, in which it can breathe and live, is the
present God and the spirits of the just: that is our heaven, our home, our
all-right place.... We shall be God's children on the little hills and in
the fields of that heaven, not one desiring to be before another any more
than to cast that other out; for ambition and hatred will then be seen to be
one and the same spirit.
[ 80 ] Shaky Foundations
The things readiest to be done, those which lie, not at the door but on
the very table, of a man's mind, are not merely in general the most
neglected, but even by the thoughtful man, the oftenest let alone, the
oftenest postponed. . . . Truth is one, and he who does the truth in the
small thing is of the truth; he who will do it only in a great thing, who
postpones the small thing near him to the great farther from him, is not of
[ 81 ] Fussing
We, too, dull our understandings with trifles, fill the heavenly spaces
with phantoms, waste the heavenly time with hurry. When I trouble myself
over a trifle, even a trifle confessed-the loss of some little article, say-
spurring my memory, and hunting the house, not from immediate need, but from
dislike of loss; when a book has been borrowed of me and not returned, and I
have forgotten the borrower, and fret over the missing volume ... is it not
time I lost a few things when I care for them so unreasonably? This losing
of things is of the mercy of God: it comes to teach us to let them go. Or
have I forgotten a thought that came to me, which seemed of the truth? ... I
keep trying and trying to call it back, feeling a poor man till that thought
be recovered- to be far more lost, perhaps, in a notebook, into which I
shall never look again to find it! I forgot that it is live things God cares
[ 82 ] Housekeeping
I appeal especially to all who keep house concerning the size of
troubles that suffices to hide word and face of God.
[ 83 ] Cares
With every haunting trouble then, great or small, the loss of thousands
or the lack of a shilling, go to God.... If your trouble is such that you
cannot appeal to Him, the more need you should appeal to him!
[ 84 ] God at the Door
Nor will God force any door to enter in. He may send a tempest about
the house; the wind of His admonishment may burst doors and windows, yea,
shake the house to its foundations; but not then, not so, will He enter. The
door must be opened by the willing hand, ere the foot of Love will cross the
threshold. He watches to see the door move from within. Every tempest is but
an assault in the siege of Love. The terror of God is but the other side of
His love; it is love outside, that would be inside-love that knows the house
is no house, only a place, until it enter.
[ 85 ] Difficulties
Everything difficult indicates something more than our theory of life
yet embraces, checks some tendency to abandon the straight path, leaving
open only the way ahead. But there is a reality of being in which all things
are easy and plain-oneness, that is, with the Lord of Life; to pray for this
is the first thing; and to the point of this prayer every difficulty hedges
and directs us.
[ 86 ] Vain Vigilance
Do those who say, "Lo here or lo there are the signs of His coming,"
think to be too keen for Him, and spy His approach? When he tells them to
watch lest He find them neglecting their work, they stare this way and that,
and watch lest He should succeed in coming like a thief! ... Obedience is
the one key of life.
[ 87 ] Incompleteness
He that is made in the image of God must know Him or be desolate. . . .
Witness the dissatisfaction, yea, desolation of my soul-wretched, alone,
unfinished, without Him. It cannot act from itself, save in God; acting from
what seems itself without God, is no action at all, it is a mere yielding to
impulse. All within is disorder and spasm. There is a cry behind me, and a
voice before; instincts of betterment tell me I must rise above my present
self-perhaps even above all my possible self: I see not how to obey, how to
carry them out! I am shut up in a world of consciousness, an unknown I in an
unknown world: surely this world of my unwilled, un-chosen, compelled
existence, cannot be shut out from Him, cannot be unknown to Him, cannot be
impenetrable, impermeable, unpresent to Him from whom I am?
[ 88 ] Prayer
Shall I not tell Him my troubles-how He, even He, has troubled me by
making me?-how unfit I am to be that which I am?-that my being is not to me
a good thing yet?-that I need a law that shall account to me for it in
righteousness-reveal to me how I am to make it a good-how I am to be* a.
good and not an evil?
[ 89 ] Knowledge That Would Be Useless
Why should the question admit of doubt? We know that the wind blows;
why should we not know that God answers prayer? I reply, What if God does
not care to have you know it at secondhand? What if there would be no good
in that? There is some testimony on record, and perhaps there might be much
were it not that, having to do with things so immediately personal, and
generally so delicate, answers to prayer would naturally not often be talked
about; but no testimony concerning the thing can well be conclusive; for,
like a reported miracle, there is always some way to daff it; and besides,
the conviction to be got that way is of little value: it avails nothing to
know the thing by the best of evidence.
[ 90 ] Prayer
Reader, if you are in any trouble, try whether God will not help you:
if you are in no need, why should you ask questions about prayer? True, he
knows little of himself who does not know that he is wretched, and
miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked; but until he begins at least to
suspect a need, how can he pray?
[ 91 ] Why Should It Be Necessary?
"But if God is so good as you represent Him, and if He knows all that
we need, and better far than we do ourselves, why should it be necessary to
ask Him for anything?" I answer, What if He knows Prayer to be the thing we
need first and most? What if the main object in God's idea of prayer be the
supplying of our great, our endless need-the need of Himself? . . . Hunger
may drive the runaway child home, and he may or may not be fed at once, but
he needs his mother more than his dinner. Communion with God is the one need
of the soul beyond all other need: prayer is the beginning of that
communion, and some need is the motive of that prayer. ... So begins a
communion, a taking with God, a coming-to-one with Him, which is the sole
end of prayer, yea, of existence itself in its infinite phases. We must ask
that we may receive: but that we should receive what we ask in respect of
our lower needs, is not God's end in making us pray, for He could give us
everything without that: to bring His child to his knee, God withholds that
man may ask.
[ 92 ] The Conditions of a Good Gift
For the real good of every gift is essential first, that the giver be
in the gift-as God always is, for He is love-and next, that the receiver
know and receive the giver in the gift. Every gift of God is but a harbinger
of His greatest and only sufficing gift-that of Himself. No gift
unrecognized as coming from God is at its own best: therefore many things
that God would gladly give us, things even that we need because we are, must
wait until we ask for them, that we may know whence they come: when in all
gifts we find Him, then in Him we shall find all things.
[ 93 ] False Spirituality
Sometimes to one praying will come the feeling . . . "Were it not
better to abstain? If this thing be good, will He not give it me? Would He
not be better pleased if I left it altogether to Him?" It comes, I think, of
a lack of faith and childlikeness ... it may even come of ambition after
[ 94 ] Small Prayers
In every request, heart and soul and mind ought to supply the low
accompaniment, "Thy will be done"; but the making of any request brings us
near to Him. . . . Anything large enough for a wish to light upon, is large
enough to hang a prayer upon: the thought of Him to whom that prayer goes
will purify and correct the desire.
[ 95 ] Riches and Need
There could be no riches but for need. God Himself is made rich by
man's necessity. By that He is rich to give; through that we are rich by
[ 96 ] Providence
"How should any design of the All-wise be altered in response to prayer
of ours? How are we to believe such a thing?" By reflecting that He is the
All-wise, who sees before Him, and will not block His path. . .. Does God
care for suns and planets and satellites, for divine mathematics and ordered
harmonies, more than for His children? I venture to say He cares more for
oxen than for those. He lays no plans irrespective of His children; and, His
design being that they shall be free, active, live things, He sees that
space shall be kept for them.
[ 97 ] Divine Freedom
What stupidity of perfection would that be which left no margin about
God's work, no room for change of plan upon change of fact-yea, even the
mighty change that.. . now at length His child is praying! ... I may move my
arm as I please: shall God be unable so to move His?
[ 98 ] Providence
If His machine interfered with His answering the prayer of a single
child, He would sweep it from Him- not to bring back chaos but to make room
for His child.. .. We must remember that God is not occupied with a grand
toy of worlds and suns and planets, of attractions and repulsions, of
agglomerations and crystallizations, of forces and waves; that these but
constitute a portion of His workshops and tools for the bringing out of
righteous men and women to fill His house of love withal
[ 99 ] The Miracles of Our Lord
In all His miracles Jesus did only in miniature what His Father does
ever in the great. Poor, indeed, was the making of the wine in the ... pots
of stone, compared with its making in the lovely growth of the vine with its
clusters of swelling grapes-the live roots gathering from the earth the
water that had to be borne in pitchers and poured into the great vases; but
it is precious as the interpreter of the same, even in its being the outcome
of Our Lord's sympathy with ordinary human rejoicing.
[ 100 ] They Have No Wine (John 2:3)
At the prayer of His mother, He made room in His plans for the thing
she desired. It was not His wish then to work a miracle, but if His mother
wished it, He would. He did for His mother what for His own part He would
rather have left alone. Not always did He do as His mother would have Him;
but this was a case in which He could do so, for it would interfere nowise
with the will of His Father. . . . The Son, then, could change His intent
and spoil nothing: so, I say, can the Father; for the Son does nothing but
what He sees the Father do.
[ 101 ] Intercessory Prayer
And why should the good of anyone depend on the prayer of another? I
can only answer with the return question, "Why should my love be powerless
to help another?"
[ 102 ] The Eternal Revolt
There is endless room for rebellion against ourselves.
[ IO3 ] They Say It Does Them Good
There are those even who, not believing in any ear to hear, any heart
to answer, will yet pray. They say it does them good; they pray to nothing
at all, but they get spiritual benefit. I will not contradict their
testimony. So needful is prayer to the soul that the mere attitude of it may
encourage a good mood. Verily to pray to that which is not, is in logic a
folly: yet the good that, they say, comes of it, may rebuke the worse folly
of their unbelief, for it indicates that prayer is natural, and how could it
be natural if inconsistent with the very mode of our being?
[ 104 ] Perfected Prayer
And there is a communion with God that asks for nothing, yet asks for
everything. . . . He who seeks the Father more than anything He can give, is
likely to have what he asks, for he is not likely to ask amiss.
[ 105 ] Corrective Granting
Even such as ask amiss may sometimes have their prayers answered. The
Father will never give the child a stone that asks for bread; but I am not
sure that He will never give the child a stone that asks for a stone. If the
Father says, "My child, that is a stone; it is no bread," and the child
answer, "I am sure it is bread; I want it," may it not be well that he
should try his "bread"?
[ 106 ] Why We Must Wait
Perhaps, indeed, the better the gift we pray for, the more time is
necessary for its arrival. To give us the spiritual gift we desire, God may
have to begin far back in our spirit, in regions unknown to us, and do much
work that we can be aware of only in the results; for our consciousness is
to the extent of our being but as the flame of the volcano to the world-gulf
whence it issues; in the gulf of our unknown being God works behind our
consciousness. With His holy influence, with His own presence (the one thing
for which most earnestly we cry) He may be approaching our consciousness
from behind, coming forward through regions of our darkness into our light,
long before we begin to be aware that He is answering our request-has
answered it, and is visiting His child.
[ 107 ] God's Vengeance
"Vengeance is mine," He says: with a right understanding of it, we
might as well pray for God's vengeance as for His forgiveness; that
vengeance is, to destroy the sin -to make the sinner abjure and hate it; nor
is there any satisfaction in a vengeance that seeks or effects less. The man
himself must turn against himself, and so be for himself. If nothing else
will do, then hellfire; if less will do, whatever brings repentance and
self-repudiation, is God's repayment. Friends, if any prayers are offered
against us; if the vengeance of God be cried out for, because of some wrong
you or I have done, God grant us His vengeance! Let us not think that we
shall get off!
[ 108 ] The Way of Understanding
He who does that which he sees, shall understand; he who is set upon
understanding rather than doing, shall go on stumbling and mistaking and
speaking foolishness. ... It is he that runneth that shall read, and no
other. It is not intended by the Speaker of the Parables that any other
should know intellectually what, known but intellectually, would be for his
injury-what, knowing intellectually, he would imagine he had grasped,
perhaps even appropriated. When the pilgrim of the truth comes on his
journey to the region of the parable, he finds its interpretation. It is not
a fruit or a jewel to be stored, but a well springing by the wayside.
[ 109 ] Penal Blindness
Those who by insincerity and falsehood close their deeper eyes, shall
not be capable of using in the matter the more superficial eyes of their
understanding... This will help to remove the difficulty that the parables
are plainly for the teaching of the truth, and yet the Lord speaks of them
as for the concealing of it. They are for the understanding of that man only
who is practical- who does the thing he knows, who seeks to understand
vitally. They reveal to the live conscience, otherwise not to the keenest
[ 110 ] The Same
The former are content to have the light cast upon their way: the
latter will have it in their eyes and cannot; if they had, it would blind
them. For them to know more would be their worse condemnation. They are not
fit to know more, more shall not be given them yet.... "You choose the dark;
you shall stay in the dark till the terrors that dwell in the dark affray
you, and cause you to cry out." God puts a seal upon the will of man; that
seal is either His great punishment or His mighty favor: "Ye love the
darkness, abide in the darkness": "O woman great is thy faith: be it done
unto thee even as thou wilt!"
[ 111 ] Agree with the Adversary Quickly
Arrange what claim lies against you; compulsion waits behind it. Do at
once what you must do one day. As there is no escape from payment, escape at
least the prison that will enforce it. Do not drive justice to extremities.
Duty is imperative; it must be done. It is useless to think to escape the
eternal law of things: yield of yourself, nor compel God to compel you.
[ 112 ] The Inexorable
No, 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!
[ 113 ] Christ Our Righteousness
Christ is our righteousness, not that we should escape punishment,
still less escape being righteous, but as the live potent creator of
righteousness in us, so that we, with our wills receiving His spirit, shall
like Him resist unto blood, striving against sin.
[ 114 ] Agree Quickly
Arrange your matters with those who have anything against you, while
you are yet together and things have not gone too far to be arranged; you
will have to do it, and that under less easy circumstances than now. Putting
off is of no use. You must. The thing has to be done; there are means of
[ 115 ] Duties to an Enemy
It is a very small matter to you whether the man give you your right or
not: it is life or death to you whether or not you give him his. Whether he
pay you what you count his debt or no, you will be compelled to pay him all
you owe him. If you owe him a pound and he you a million, you must pay him
the pound whether he pay you the million or not; there is no business
parallel here. If, owing you love, he gives you hate, you, owing him love,
have yet to pay it.
[ 116 ] The Prison
I think I have seen from afar something of the final prison of all, the
innermost cell of the debtor of the universe. ... It is the vast outside;
the ghastly dark beyond the gates of the city of which God is the light-
where the evil dogs go ranging, silent as the dark, for there is no sound
any more than sight. The time of signs is over. Every sense has (had) its
signs, and they were all misused: there is no sense, no sign more-nothing
now by means of which to believe. The man wakes from the final struggle of
death, in absolute loneliness as in the most miserable moment of deserted
childhood he never knew. Not a hint, not a shadow of anything outside his
consciousness reaches him. . . . Soon misery will beget on his imagination a
thousand shapes of woe, which he will not be able to rule, direct, or even
distinguish from real presences.
[ 117 ] Not Good to Be Alone
In such evil case I believe the man would be glad to come in contact
with the worst loathed insect: it would be a shape of life, something beyond
and beside his own huge, void, formless being! I imagine some such feeling
in the prayer of the devils for leave to go into the swine. . . . Without
the correction, the reflection, the support of other presences, being is not
merely unsafe, it is a horror-for anyone but God, who is His own being. For
him whose idea is God's, and the image of God, his own being is far too
fragmentary and imperfect to be anything like good company. It is the lovely
creatures God has made all around us, in them giving us Himself, that, until
we know Him, save us from the frenzy of aloneness-for that aloneness is
[ 118 ] Be Ye Perfect
Whoever will live must cease to be a slave and become a child of God.
There is no halfway house of rest, where ungodliness may be dallied with,
nor prove quite fatal Be they few or many cast into such prison as I have
endeavored to imagine, there can be no deliverance for human soul, whether
in that prison or out of it, but in paying the last farthing, in becoming
lowly, penitent, self-refusing-so receiving the sonship and learning to cry,
[ 119 ] The Heart
And no scripture is of private interpretation, so is there no feeling
in (a) human heart which exists in that heart alone-which is not, in some
form or degree, in every heart.
[ 120 ] Precious Blame
No matter how His image may have been defaced in me, the thing defaced
is His image, remains His defaced image-an image yet, that can hear His
word. What makes me evil and miserable is that the thing spoiled in me is
the image of the Perfect. Nothing can be evil but in virtue of a good
hypostasis. No, no! Nothing can make it that I am not the child of God. If
one say, "Look at the animals: God made them; you do not call them the
children of God!" I answer, "But I am to blame: they are not to blame! I
cling fast to my blame: it is the seal of my childhood." I have nothing to
argue from in the animals, for I do not understand them. Two things I am
sure of: that God is "a faithful creator" and that the sooner I put in force
my claim to be a child of God, the better for them; for they too are fallen,
though without blame.
[ 121 ] The Same
However bad I may be, I am the child of God, and therein lies my blame.
Ah, I would not lose my blame! In my blame lies my hope.
[ 122 ] Man Glorified
Everything muse at length be subject to man, as it was to The Man. When
God can do what He will with a man, the man may do what he will with the
world; he may walk on the sea like his Lord; the deadliest thing will not be
able to hurt him.
[ 123 ] Life in the Word
All things were made through the Word, but that which was made in the
Word was life, and that life is the light of men: they who live by this
light, that is live as Jesus lived, by obedience, namely, to the Father,
have a share in their own making; the light becomes life in them; they are,
in their lower way, alive with the life that was first born in Jesus, and
through Him has been born in them-by obedience they become one with the
Godhead: "As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons
[ 124 ] The Office of Christ
Never could we have known the heart of the Father, never felt it
possible to love Him as sons, but for Him who cast Himself into the gulf
that yawned between us. In and through Him we were foreordained to the
son-ship: sonship, even had we never sinned, never could we reach without
Him. We should have been little children loving the Father indeed, but
children far from the son-hood that understands and adores.
[ 125 ] The Slowness of the New Creation
As the world must be redeemed in a few men to begin with, so the soul
is redeemed in a few of its thoughts, and works, and ways to begin with: it
takes a long time to finish the new creation of this redemption.
[ 126 ] The New Creation
When the sons of God show as they are, taking, with the character, the
appearance and the place, that belong to their sonship; when the sons of God
sit with the Son of God on the throne of their Father; then shall they be in
potency of fact the lords of the lower creation, the bestowers of liberty
and peace upon it: then shall the creation, subjected to vanity for their
sakes, find its freedom in their freedom, its gladness in their sonship. The
animals will glory to serve them, will joy to come to them for help. Let the
heartless scoff, the unjust despise! the heart that cries Abba, Father,
cries to the God of the sparrow and the oxen; nor can hope go too far in
hoping what God will do for the creation that now groaneth and travaileth in
pain because our higher birth is delayed.
[ 127 ] Pessimism
Low-sunk life imagines itself weary of life, but it is death, not life,
it is weary of.
[ 128 ] The Work of the Father
All things are possible with God, but all things are not easy. ... In
the very nature of being-that is, God- it must be hard-and divine history
shows how hard -to create that which shall be not Himself, yet like Himself.
The problem is, so far to separate from Himself that which must yet on Him
be ever and always and utterly dependent, that it shall have the existence
of an individual, and be able to turn and regard him, choose Him, and say "I
will arise and go to my Father. ..." I imagine the difficulty of doing this
thing, of affecting this creation, this separation from Himself such that
Will in the creature shall be possible-I imagine, I say, that for it God
must begin inconceivably far back in the infinitesimal regions of
[ 129 ] The End
The final end of the separation is not individuality; that is but a
means to it: the final end is oneness-an impossibility without it. For there
can be no unity, no delight of love, no harmony, no good in being, where
there is but one. Two at least are needed for oneness.
[ 130 ] Deadlock
Man finds it hard to get what he wants, because he does not want the
best; God finds it hard to give, because He would give the best, and man
will not take it.
[ 131 ] The Two Worst Heresies
The worst heresy, next to that of dividing religion and righteousness,
is to divide the Father from the Son; . . . to represent the Son as doing
that which the Father does not Himself do.
[ 132 ] Christian Growth
All the growth of the Christian is the more and more life he is
receiving. At first his religion may hardly be distinguishable from the mere
prudent desire to save his soul: but at last he loses that very soul in the
glory of love, and so saves itself; self becomes but the cloud on which the
white light of God divides into harmonies unspeakable.
[ 133 ] Life and Shadow
Life is everything. Many doubtless mistake the joy of life for life
itself, and, longing after the joy, languish with a thirst at once poor and
inextinguishable; but even that, thirst points to the one spring. These love
self, not life, and self is but the shadow of life. When it is taken for
life itself, and set as the man's center, it becomes a live death in the
man, a devil he worships as his God: the worm of the death eternal he clasps
to his bosom as his one joy.
[ 134 ] False Refuge
Of all things let us avoid the false refuge of a weary collapse, a
hopeless yielding to things as they are. It is the life in us that is
discontented: we need more of what is discontented, not more of the cause of
[ 135 ] A Silly Notion
No silly notion of playing the hero-what have creatures like us to do
with heroism who are not yet barely honest?
[ 136 ] Dryness
The true man trusts in a strength which is not his, and which he does
not feel, does not even always desire.
[ 137 ] Perseverance
To believe in the wide-awake real, through all the stupefying,
enervating, distorting dream: to will to wake, when the very being seems
athirst for Godless repose:-these are the broken steps up to the high fields
where repose is but a form of strength, strength but a form of joy, joy but
a form of love.
[ 138 ] The Lower Forms
I trust that life in its lowest forms is on the way to thought and
blessedness, is in the process of that separation, so to speak, from God, in
which consists the creation of living souls.
[ 139 ] Life
He who has it not cannot believe in it: how should death believe in
life, though all the birds of God are singing jubilant over the empty tomb?
[ 140 ] The Eternal Round
Obedience is the joining of the links of the eternal round. Obedience
is but the other side of the creative will. Will is God's will, obedience is
man's will; the two make one. The root life, knowing well the thousand
troubles it would bring upon Him, has created, and goes on creating, other
lives, that though incapable of self-being they may, by willed obedience,
share in the bliss of His essential self-ordained being. If we do the will
of God, eternal life is ours-no mere continuity of existence, for that in
itself is worthless as hell, but a being that is one with the essential
[ 141 ] The Great One Life
The infinite God, the great one life, than whom is no other-only
shadows, lovely shadows of Him.
[ 142 ] The Beginning of Wisdom
Naturally the first emotion of man toward the being he calls God, but
of whom he knows so little, is fear. Where it is possible that fear should
exist, it is well it should exist, cause continual uneasiness, and be cast
out by nothing less than love. . . . Until love, which is the truth toward
God, is able to cast out far, it is well that fear should hold; it is a
bond, however poor, between that which is and That which creates-a bond that
must be broken, but a bond that can be broken only by the tightening of an
infinitely closer bond. Verily God must be terrible to those that are far
from Him: for they fear He will do, yea, He is doing with them what they do
not, cannot desire, and can ill endure.
[ 143 ] "Peace in Our Time"
While they are such as they are, there is much in Him that cannot but
affright them: they ought, they do well, to fear, Him. ... To remove that
fear from their hearts, save by letting them know His love with its
purifying fire, a love which for ages, it may be, they cannot know, would be
to give them up utterly to the power of evil. Persuade men that fear is a
vile thing, that it is an insult to God, that He will none of it-while they
are yet in love with their own will, and slaves to every movement of
passionate impulse, and what will the consequence be? That they will insult
God as a discarded idol, a superstition, a falsehood, as a thing under whose
evil influence they have too long groaned, a thing to be cast out and spit
upon. After that how much will they learn of Him?
[ 144 ] Divine Fire
The fire of God, which is His essential being, His love, His creative
power, is a fire unlike its earthly symbol in this, that it is only at a
distance it burns-that the further from Him, it burns the worse.
[ 145 ] The Safe Place
If then any child of the Father finds that he is afraid before Him,
that the thought of God is a discomfort to him, or even a terror, let him
make haste-let him not linger to put on any garment, but rush at once in his
nakedness, a true child, for shelter from his own evil and God's terror,
into the salvation of the Father's arms.
[ 146 ] God and Death
All that is not God is death.
[ 147 ] Terror
Endless must be our terror, until we come heart to heart with the
fire-core of the universe, the first and the last of the living One.
[ 148 ] False Want
Men who would rather receive salvation from God than God their
[ 149 ] A Man's Right
Lest it should be possible that any unchildlike soul might, in
arrogance and ignorance, think to stand upon his rights against God, and
demand of Him this or that after the will of the flesh, I will lay before
such a possible one some of the things to which he has a right. ... He has a
claim to be compelled to repent; to be hedged in on every side: to have one
after another of the strong, sharp-toothed sheep dogs of the Great Shepherd
sent after him, to thwart him in any desire, foil him in any plan, frustrate
him of any hope, until he come to see at length that nothing will ease his
pain, nothing make life a thing worth having, but the presence of the living
God within him.
[ 150 ] Nature
In what belongs to the deeper meanings of nature and her mediation
between us and God, the appearances of nature are the truths of nature, far
deeper than any scientific discoveries in and concerning them. The show of
things is that for which God cares most, for their show is the face of far
deeper things than they. ... It is through their show, not through their
analysis, that we enter into their deepest truths. What they say to the
childlike soul is the truest thing to be gathered of them. To know a
primrose is a higher thing than to know all the botany of it-just as to know
Christ is an infinitely higher thing than to know all theology, all that is
said about His person, or babbled about His work. The body of man does not
exist for the sake of its hidden secrets; its hidden secrets exist for the
sake of its outside-for the face and the form in which dwells revelation:
its outside is the deepest of it. So Nature as well exists primarily for her
face, her look, her appeals to the heart and the imagination, her simple
service to human need, and not for the secrets to be discovered in her and
turned to man's further use.
[ 151 ] The Same
By an infinite decomposition we should know nothing more of what a
thing really is, for, the moment we decompose it, it ceases to be, and all
its meaning is vanished. Infinitely more than astronomy even, which destroys
nothing, can do for us, is done by the mere aspect and changes of the vault
over our heads. Think for a moment what would be our idea of greatness, of
God, of infinitude, of aspiration, if, instead of a blue, far withdrawn,
light-spangled firmament, we were born and reared under a flat white
ceiling! I would not be supposed to depreciate the labors of science, but I
say its discoveries are unspeakably less precious than the merest gifts of
Nature, those which, from morning to night, we take unthinking from her
hands. One day, I trust, we shall be able to enter into their secrets from
within them-by natural contact. . . .
[ 152 ] Doubt
To deny the existence of God may . . . involve less unbelief than the
smallest yielding to doubt of His goodness. I say yielding; for a man may be
haunted with doubts, and only grow thereby in faith. Doubts are the
messengers of the Living One to the honest. They are the first knock at our
door of things that are not yet, but have to be, understood. . . . Doubt
must precede every deeper assurance; for uncertainties are what we first see
when we look into a region hitherto unknown, unexplored, unannexed.
[ 153 ] Job
Seeing God, Job forgets all he wanted to say, all he thought he would
say if he could but see Him.
[ 154 ] The Close of the Book of Job
Job had his desire: he saw the face of God-and abhorred himself in dust
and ashes. He sought justification; he found self-abhorrence. . . . Two
things are clearly contained in, and manifest from, this poem:- that not
every man deserves for his sins to be punished everlastingly from the
presence of the Lord; and that the best of men, when he sees the face of
God, will know himself vile. God is just, and will never deal with the
sinner as if he were capable of sinning the pure sin; yet if the best man be
not delivered from himself, that self will sink him into Tophet.
[ 155 ] The Way
Christ is the way out, and the way in: the way from slavery, conscious
or unconscious, into liberty; the way from the unhomeliness of things to the
home we desire but do not know; the way from the stormy skirts of the
Father's garments to the peace of His bosom.
[ 156 ] Self-Control
I will allow that the mere effort of will. . . may add to the man's
power over his lower nature; but in that very nature it is God who must rule
and not the man, how very well he may mean. From a man's rule of himself in
smallest opposition, however devout, to the law of his being, arises the
huge danger of nourishing, by the pride of self-conquest, a far worse than
even the unchained animal self-the demoniac self. True victory over self is
the victory of God in the man, not of the man alone. It is not subjugation
that is enough, but subjugation by God. In whatever man does without God, he
must fail miserably-or succeed more miserably. No portion of a man can rule
another, for God, not the man, created it, and the part is greater than the
whole. . . . The diseased satisfaction which some minds feel in laying
burdens on themselves, is a pampering, little as they may suspect it, of the
most dangerous appetite of that self which they think they are mortifying.
[ 157 ] Self-Denial
The self is given to us that we may sacrifice it: it is ours, that we,
like Christ, may have somewhat to offer- not that we should torment it, but
that we should deny it; not that we should cross it, but that we should
abandon it utterly: then it can no more be vexed. "What can this mean?-we
are not to thwart, but to abandon?" ... It means this:-we must refuse,
abandon, deny self altogether as a ruling, or determining, or originating
element in us. It is to be no longer the regent of our action. We are no
more to think "What should I like to do?" but "What would the Living One
have me do?"
[ 158 ] Killing the Nerve
No grasping or seeking, no hungering of the individual, shall give
motion to the will: no desire to be conscious of worthiness shall order the
life; no ambition whatever shall be a motive of action; no wish to surpass
another be allowed a moment's respite from death.
[ 159 ] Self
Self, I have not to consult you but Him whose idea is the soul of you,
and of which as yet you are all unworthy. I have to do, not with you, but
with the Source of you, by whom it is that (at) any moment you exist-the
Causing of you, not the caused you. You may be my consciousness but you are
not my being. ... For God is more to me than my consciousness of myself. He
is my life; you are only so much of it as my poor half-made being can
grasp-as much of it as I can now know at once. Because I have fooled and
spoiled you, treated you as if you were indeed my own self, you have
dwindled yourself and have lessened me, till I am ashamed of myself. If I
were to mind what you say, I should soon be sick of you; even now I am ever
and anon disgusted with your paltry mean face, which I meet at every turn.
No! Let me have the company of the Perfect One, not of you! Of my elder
brother, the Living One! I will not make a friend of the mere shadow of my
own being! Good-bye, Self! I deny you, and will do my best every day to
leave you behind.
[ 160 ] My Yoke Is Easy
The will of the Father is the yoke He would have us take, and bear also
with Him. It is of this yoke that he says It is easy, of this burden, // is
light. He is not saying "The yoke I lay upon you is easy, the burden light";
what He says is, "The yoke I carry is easy, the burden on My shoulders is
light." With the garden of Gethsemane before Him, with the hour and the
power of darkness waiting for Him, He declares His yoke is easy, His burden
[ 161 ] We Must Be Jealous
We must be jealous for God against ourselves and look well to the
cunning and deceitful self-ever cunning and deceitful until it is informed
of God-until it is thoroughly and utterly denied. . . . Until then its very
denials, its very turnings from things dear to it for the sake of Christ,
will tend to foster its self-regard, and generate in it a yet deeper
[ 162 ] Facing Both Ways
Is there not many a Christian who, having begun to deny himself, yet
spends much strength in the vain and evil endeavor to accommodate matters
between Christ and the dear Self-seeking to save that which so he must
certainly lose-in how different a way from that in which the Master would
have him lose it!
[ 163 ] The Careless Soul
The careless soul receives the Father's gifts as if it were a way
things had of dropping into his hand ... yet is he ever complaining, as if
someone were accountable for the checks which meet him at every turn. For
the good that comes to him, he gives no thanks-who is there to thank? At the
disappointments that befall him he grumbles-there must be someone to blame!
[ 164 ] There Is No Merit in It
In the main we love because we cannot help it. There is no merit in it:
how should there be any love? But neither is it selfish. There are many who
confound righteousness with merit, and think there is nothing righteous
where there is nothing meritorious. "If it makes you happy to love," they
say, "where is your merit? It is only selfishness." There is no merit, I
reply, yet the love that is born in us is our salvation from selfishness. It
is of the very essence of righteousness. ... That certain joys should be
joys, is the very denial of selfishness. The man would be a demoniacally
selfish man, whom Love itself did not make joyful.
[ 165 ] Faith
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 obedience.
[ 166 ] The Misguided
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.
[ 167 ] The Way
Instead of asking yourself whether you believe or not, ask yourself
whether you have this day done one thing because He said, Do it, or once
abstained because He said, Do not do it. It is simply absurd to say you
believe, or even want to believe, in Him, if you do not do anything He tells
[ 168 ] The First and Second Persons
I worship the Son as the human God, the divine, the only, Man, deriving
His being and power from the Father, equal with Him as a son is the equal at
once and the subject of his father.
[ 169 ] Warning
We must not wonder things away into nonentity.
[ 170 ] Creation
The word creation applied to the loftiest success of human genius,
seems to me a mockery of humanity, itself in process of creation.
[ 171 ] The Unknowable
As to what the life of God is to Himself, we can only know that we
cannot know it-even that not being absolute ignorance, for no one can see
that, from its very nature, he cannot understand a thing without therein
approaching that thing in a most genuine manner.
[ 172 ] Warning
Let us understand very plainly, that a being whose essence was only
power would be such a negation of the divine that no righteous worship could
be offered him.
[ 173 ] The Two First Persons
The response to self-existent love is self-abnegating love. The refusal
of Himself is that in Jesus which corresponds to the creation in God. . . .
When he died on the cross, He did that, in the wild weather of His outlying
provinces, in the torture of the body of His revelation, which He had done
at home in glory and gladness.
[ 174 ] The Imitation of Christ
There is no life for any man other than the same kind that Jesus has;
His disciples must live by the same absolute devotion of his will to the
Father's: then is his life one with the life of the Father.
[ 175 ] Pain and Joy
The working out of this our salvation must be pain, and the handling of
it down to them that are below must ever be in pain; but the eternal form of
the will of God in and for us, is intensity of bliss.
[ 176 ] "By Him All Things Consist"
The bond of the universe ... is the devotion of the Son to the Father.
It is the life of the universe. It is not the fact that God created all
things, that makes the universe a whole; but that He through Whom He created
them loves Him perfectly, is eternally content in His Father, is satisfied
to be because His Father is with Him. It is not the fact that God is all in
all that unites the universe: it is the love of the Son to the Father. For
of no onehood comes unity; there can be no oneness where there is only one.
For the very beginnings of unity there must be two. Without Christ therefore
there could be no universe.
[ 177 ] "In Him Was Life"
We too must have life in ourselves. We too must, like the Life Himself,
live. We can live in no way but that in which Jesus lived, in which life was
made in Him. The way is, to give up our life. . . . Till then we are not
alive; life is not made in us. The whole strife and labor and agony of the
Son with every man is to get him to die as He died. All preaching that aims
not at this is a building with wood, and hay, and stubble.
[ 178 ] Why We Have Not Christ's "Ipsissima Verba"
God has not cared that we should anywhere have assurance of His very
words; and that not merely perhaps, because of the tendency in His children
to word-worship, false logic, and corruption of the truth, but because He
would not have them oppressed by words, seeing that words, being human,
therefore but partially capable, could not absolutely contain or express
what the Lord meant, and that even He must depend for being understood upon
the spirit of His disciple. Seeing it could not give life, the letter should
not be throned with power to kill.
[ 179 ] Warning
"How am I to know that a thing is true?" By doing what you know to be
true, and calling nothing true until you see it to be true; by shutting your
mouth until the truth opens it. Are you meant to be silent? Then woe to you
if you speak.
[ 180 ] On Bad Religious Art
If the Lord were to appear this day in England as once in Palestine, He
would not come in the halo of the painters or with that wintry shine of
effeminate beauty, of sweet weakness, in which it is their helpless custom
to represent Him.
[ 181 ] Row to Read the Epistles
The uncertainty lies always in the intellectual region, never in the
practical. What Paul cares about is plain enough to the true heart, however
far from plain to the man whose desire to understand goes ahead of his
[ 182 ] The Entrance of Christ
When we receive His image into our spiritual mirror, He enters with it.
Our thought is not cut off from His. Our open receiving thought is His door
to come in. When our hearts turn to Him, that is opening the door to Him,
that is holding up our mirror to Him; then He comes in, not by our thought
only, not in our idea only, but He comes Himself and of His own will-comes
in as we could not take Him, but as He can come.
[ 183 ] The Same
Thus the Lord ... becomes the soul of our souls, becomes spiritually
what He always was creatively; and as our spirit informs, gives shape to,
our bodies, in like manner His soul informs, gives shape to, our souls. The
deeper soul that willed and wills our souls rises up, the infinite Life,
into the Self we call 7 and me, but which lives immediately from Him and is
His very own property and nature-unspeakably more His than ours . . . until
at length the glory of our existence flashes upon us, we face full to the
sun that enlightens what it sent forth, and know ourselves alive with an
infinite life, even the Life of the Father; know that our existence is not
the moonlight of a mere consciousness of being but the sun-glory of a life
justified by having become one with its origin, thinking and feeling with
the primal Sun of life, from whom it was dropped away that it might know and
bethink itself and return to circle forever in exultant harmony around Him.
[ 184 ] The Uses of Nature
What notion should we have of the unchanging and unchangeable, without
the solidity of matter? . . . How should we imagine what we may of God
without the firmament over our heads, a visible sphere, yet a formless
infinitude? What idea could we have of God without the sky?
[ 185 ] Natural Science
Human science is but the backward undoing of the tapestry-web of God's
science, works with its back to Him, and is always leaving Him-His intent,
that is, His perfected work-behind it, always going farther and farther away
from the point where His work culminates in revelation.
[ 186 ] The Value of Analysis
Analysis is well, as death is well.
[ 187 ] Nature
The truth of the flower is, not the facts about it, be they correct as
ideal science itself, but the shining, glowing, gladdening, patient thing
throned on its stalk -the compeller of smile and tear. ... The idea of God
is the flower: His idea is not the botany of the flower. Its botany is but a
thing of ways and means-of canvas and color and brush in relation to the
picture in the painter's brain.
[ 188 ] Water
Is oxygen-and-hydrogen the divine idea of water? God put the two
together only that man might separate and find them out? He allows His child
to pull his toys to pieces: but were they made that he might pull them to
pieces? He were a child not to be envied for whom his inglorious father
would make toys to such an end! A school examiner might see therein the best
use of a toy, but not a father! Find for us what in the constitution of the
two gases makes them fit and capable to be thus honored in forming the
lovely thing, and you will give us a revelation about more than water,
namely about the God who made oxygen and hydrogen. There is no water in
oxygen, no water in hydrogen; it comes bubbling fresh from the imagination
of the living God, rushing from under the great white throne of the glacier.
The very thought of it makes one gasp with an elemental joy no metaphysician
can analyze. The water itself, that dances and sings, and slakes the
wonderful thirst- symbol and picture of that draught for which the woman of
Samaria made her prayer to Jesus-this lovely thing itself, whose very
witness is a delight to every inch of the human body in its embrace-this
live thing which, if I might, I would have running through my room, yea,
babbling along my table-this water is its own self its own truth, and is
therein a truth of God. Let him who would know the truth of the Maker,
become sorely athirst, and drink of the brook by the way-then lift up his
heart-not at that moment to the Maker of oxygen and hydrogen, but to the
Inventor and Mediator of thirst and water, that man might foresee a little
of what his soul might find in God.
[ 189 ] Truth of Things
The truth of a thing, then, is the blossom of it, the thing it is made
for, the topmost stone set on with rejoicing; truth in a man's imagination
is the power to recognize this truth of a thing.
[ 190 ] Caution
But far higher will the doing of the least, the most insignificant,
duty raise him.
[ 191 ] Duties
These relations are facts of man's nature. ... He is so constituted as
to understand them at first more than he can love them, with the resulting
advantage of having thereby the opportunity of choosing them purely because
they are true: so doing he chooses to love them, and is enabled to love them
in the doing, which alone can truly reveal them to him and make the loving
of them possible. Then they cease to show themselves in the form of duties
and appear as they more truly are, absolute truths, essential realities,
eternal delights. The man is a true man who chooses duty: he is a perfect
man who at length never thinks of duty, who forgets the name of it.
[ 192 ] Why Free Will Was Permitted
One who went to the truth by mere impulse would be a holy animal, not a
true man. Relations, truths, duties, are shown to the man away beyond him,
that he may choose them and be a child of God, choosing righteousness like
Him. Hence the whole sad victorious human tale and the glory to be revealed.
[ 193 ] Eternal Death
Not fulfilling these relations, the man is undoing the right of his own
existence, destroying his raison d'etre, making of himself a monster, a live
reason why he should not live.
[ 194 ] The Redemption of Our Nature
When (a man) is aware of an opposition in him, which is not harmony:
that, while he hates it, there is yet present with him, and seeming to be
himself, what sometimes he calls the old Adam, sometimes the flesh,
sometimes his lower nature, sometimes his evil self; and sometimes
recognizes as simply that part of his being where God is not; then indeed is
the man in the region of truth, and beginning to come true in himself. Nor
will it be long ere he discover that there is no part in him with which he
would be at strife, so God were there, so that it were true, what it ought
to be-in right relation to the whole; for, by whatever name called, the old
Adam, or antecedent horse, or dog, or tiger, it would then fulfill its part
holily, intruding upon nothing, subject utterly to the rule of the higher;
horse, or dog, or tiger, it would be good horse, good dog, good tiger.
[ 195 ] No Mystery
Man bows down before a power that can account for him, a power to whom
he is no mystery as he is to himself.
[ 196 ] The Live Truth
When a man is, with his whole nature, loving and willing the truth, he
is then a live truth. But this he has not originated in himself. He has seen
it and striven for it, but not originated it. The more originating, living,
visible truth, embracing all truths in all relations, is Jesus Christ. He is
true: He is the live Truth.
[ 197 ] Likeness to Christ
His likeness to Christ is the truth of a man, even as the perfect
meaning of a flower is the truth of a flower.... As Christ is the blossom of
humanity, so the blossom of every man is the Christ perfected in him.
[ 198 ] Grace and Freedom
He gives us the will wherewith to will, and the power to use it, and
the help needed to supplement the power: . . . but we ourselves must will
the truth and for that the Lord is waiting. . . . The work is His, but we
must take our willing share. When the blossom breaks forth in us, the more
it is ours the more it is His.
[ 199 ] Glorious Liberty
When a man is true, if he were in hell he could not be miserable. He is
right with himself because right with Him whence he came. To be right with
God is to be right with the universe: one with the power, the love, the will
of the mighty Father, the cherisher of joy, the Lord of laughter, whose are
all glories, all hopes, who loves everything and hates nothing but
[ 200 ] No Middle Way
There is, in truth, no mid way between absolute harmony with the Father
and the condition of slaves-submissive or rebellious. If the latter, their
very rebellion is by the strength of the Father in them.
[ 201 ] On Having One's Own Way
The liberty of the God who would have his creatures free, is in contest
with the slavery of the creature who would cut his own stem from his root
that he might call it his own and love it; who rejoices in his own
consciousness, instead of the life of that consciousness; who poises himself
on the tottering wall of his own being, instead of the rock on which that
being is built. Such a one regards his own dominion over himself- the rule
of the greater by the less-as a freedom infinitely larger than the range of
the universe of God's being. If he says, "At least I have it in my own
way!", I answer, you do not know what is your way and what is not. You know
nothing of whence your impulses, your desires, your tendencies, your likings
come. They may spring now from some chance, as of nerves diseased; now from
some roar of a wandering bodiless devil; now from some infant hate in your
heart; now from the greed of lawlessness of some ancestor you would be
ashamed of if you knew him; or, it may be, now from some far-piercing chord
of a heavenly orchestra: the moment comes up into your consciousness, you
call it your own way, and glory in it.
[ 2O2 ] The Death of Christ
Christ died to save us, not from suffering, but from ourselves; not
from injustice, far less from justice, but from being unjust. He died that
we might live-but live as He lives, by dying as He died who died to Himself.
[ 203 ] Hell
The one principle of hell is-"I am my own!"
[ 204 ] The Lie
To all these principles of hell, or of this world-they are the same
thing, and it matters nothing whether they are asserted or defended so long
as they are acted upon -the Lord, the King, gives the direct lie.
[ 205 ] The Author's Fear
If I mistake, He will forgive me. I do not fear Him: I fear only lest,
able to see and write these things, I should fail of witnessing and myself
be, after all, a castaway- no king but a talker; no disciple of Jesus, ready
to go with Him to the death, but an arguer about the truth.
[ 206 ] Sincerity
We are not bound to say all we think but we are bound not even to look
what we do not think.
[ 207 ] First Things First
Oh the folly of any mind that would explain God before obeying Him!
That would map out the character of God instead of crying, Lord, what
wouldst thou have me to do?
[ 208 ] Inexorable Love
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.-"That is not the sort of love I care about!"-No; how
should you? I well believe it.
[ 209 ] Salvation
The notion that the salvation of Jesus is a salvation from the
consequences of our sins is a false, mean, low notion. . . . Jesus did not
die to save us from punishment; He was called Jesus because He should save
His people from their sins.
[ 210 ] Charity and Orthodoxy
Every man who tries to obey the Master is my brother, whether he counts
me such or not, and I revere him; but dare I give quarter to what I see to
be a lie because my brother believes it? The lie is not of God, whoever may
[ 211 ] Evasion
To put off obeying Him till we find a credible theory concerning Him is
to set aside the potion we know it our duty to drink, for the study of the
various schools of therapy.
[ 212 ] Inexorable Love
Such is the mercy of God that He will hold His children in the
consuming fire of His distance until they pay the uttermost farthing, until
they drop the purse of selfishness with all the dross that is in it, and
rush home to the Father and the Son and the many brethren-rush inside the
center of the life-giving fire whose outer circles burn.
[ 213 ] The Holy Ghost
To him who obeys, and thus opens the door of his heart to receive the
eternal gift, 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.
[ 214 ] The Sense of Sin
Sense of sin is not inspiration, though it may lie not far from the
temple door. It is indeed an opener of the eyes, but upon home defilement,
not upon heavenly truth.
[ 215 ] Mean Theologies
They regard the Father of their spirits as their governor! They yield
the idea of ... "the glad Creator," and put in its stead a miserable,
puritanical, martinet of a God, caring not for righteousness but for His
rights: not for the eternal purities, but the goody proprieties. The
prophets of such a God take all the glow, all the hope, all the color, all
the worth, out of life on earth, and offer you instead what they call
eternal bliss-a pale, tearless hell. . . . But if you are straitened in your
own mammon-worshipping soul, how shall you believe in a God any greater than
can stand up in that prison chamber?
[ 216 ] On Believing 111 of God
Neither let thy cowardly conscience receive any word as light because
another call it light, while it looks to thee dark. Say either the thing is
not what it seems, or God never said or did it. But of all evils, to
misinterpret what God does, and then say the thing, as interpreted, must be
right because God does it, is of the devil. Do not try to believe anything
that affects thee as darkness. Even if thou mistake and refuse something
true thereby, thou wilt do less wrong to Christ by such a refusal than thou
wouldst by accepting as His what thou canst see only as darkness . .. but
let thy words be few, lest thou say with thy tongue what thous wilt
afterward repent with thy heart.
[ 217 ] Condemnation
No man is condemned for anything he has done: he is condemned for
continuing to do wrong. He is condemned for not coming out of the darkness,
for not coming to the light.
[ 218 ] Excuses
As soon as a man begins to make excuse, the time has come when he might
be doing that from which he excuses himself.
[ 219 ] Impossibilities
"I thank thee, Lord, for forgiving me, but I prefer staying in the
darkness: forgive me that too."-"No; that cannot be. The one thing that
cannot be forgiven is the sin of choosing to be evil, of refusing
deliverance. It is impossible to forgive that. It would be to take part in
[ 22O ] Disobedience
How many are there not who seem capable of anything for the sake of the
Church or Christianity, except the one thing its Lord cares about-that they
should do what He tells them. He would deliver them from themselves into the
liberty of the sons of God, make them His brothers: they leave Him to vaunt
[ 221 ] The Same
To say a man might disobey and be none the worse would be to say that
no might be yes and light sometimes darkness.
[ 222 ] The God of Remembrance
I do not mean that God would have even His closest presence make us
forget or cease to desire that of our friend. God forbid! The Love of God is
the perfecting of every love. He is not the God of oblivion but of eternal
remembrance. There is no past with Him.
[ 223 ] Bereavement
"Ah, you little know my loss!"-"Indeed it is great! It seems to include
God! If you knew what He knows about death you would clap your listless
hands. But why should I seek in vain to comfort you? You must be made
miserable that you may wake from your sleep to know that you need God. If
you do not find Him, endless life with the living (being) whom you bemoan
would become and remain to you unendurable. The knowledge of your own heart
will teach you this:-not the knowledge you have, but the knowledge that is
on its way to you through suffering. Then you will feel that existence
itself is the prime of evils without the righteousness that is of God by
[ 224 ] Abraham's Faith
The Apostle says that a certain thing was imputed to Abraham for
righteousness: or, as the revised version has it, "reckoned unto him": what
was it that was thus imputed to Abraham? The righteousness of another? God
forbid! It was his own faith. The faith of Abraham is reckoned to him for
[ 225 ] The Same
Paul says faith in God was counted righteousness before Moses was born.
You may answer, Abraham was unjust in many things, and by no means a
righteous man. True: he was not a righteous man in any complete sense. His
righteousness would never have satisfied Paul; neither, you may be sure, did
it satisfy Abraham. But his faith was nevertheless righteousness.
[ 226 ] Perception of Duties
You may say this is not one's first feeling of duty. True: but the
first in reality is seldom the first perceived. The first duty is too high
and too deep to come first into consciousness. If anyone were born perfect
... the highest duty would come first into the consciousness. As we are
born, it is the doing of, or at least the honest trying to do many another
duty, that will at length lead a man to see that his duty to God is the
first and deepest and highest of all, including and requiring the
performance of all other duties whatever.
[ 227 ] Righteousness of Faith
To the man who has no faith in God, faith in God cannot look like
righteousness; neither can he know that it is creative of all other
righteousness toward equal and inferior lives.
[ 228 ] The Same
It is not like some single separate act of righteousness: it is the
action of the whole man, turning to good from evil-turning his back on all
that is opposed to righteousness, and starting on a road on which he cannot
stop, in which he must go on growing more and more righteous, discovering
more and more what righteousness is, and more and more what is unrighteous
[ 229 ] Reckoned unto Us for Righteousness
With what life and possibility is in him, he must keep turning to
righteousness and abjuring iniquity, ever aiming at the righteousness of
God. Such an obedient faith is most justly and fairly, being all that God
Himself can require of the man, called by God righteousness in the man. It
would not be enough for the righteousness of God, or Jesus, or any perfected
saint, because they are capable of perfect righteousness.
[ 230 ] St. Paul's Faith
His faith was an act recognizing God as his law, and that is not a
partial act, but an all-embracing and all-determining action. A single
righteous deed toward one's fellow could hardly be imputed to a man as
righteousness. A man who is not trying after righteousness may yet do many a
righteous act: they will not be forgotten to him, neither will they be
imputed to him as righteousness.
[ 231 ] The Full-Grown Christian
He does not take his joy from himself. He feels joy in himself, but it
comes to him from others, not from himself-from God first, and from
somebody, anybody, everybody next.. .. He could do without knowing himself,
but he could not know himself and spare one of the brothers or sisters God
has given him. . . . His consciousness of himself is the reflex from those
about him, not the result of his own turning in of his regard upon himself.
It is not the contemplation of what God had made him, it is the being what
God has made him, and the contemplation of what God himself is, and what He
has made his fellows, that gives him his joy.
[ 232 ] Revealed to Babes
The wise and prudent must make a system and arrange things to his mind
before he can say, / believe. The child sees, believes, obeys-and knows he
must be perfect as his Father in heaven is perfect. If an angel, seeming to
come from heaven, told him that God had let him off, that He did not require
so much of him, but would be content with less ... the child would at once
recognize, woven with the angel's starry brilliancy, the flicker of the
flames of hell.
[ 233 ] Answer
"But how can God bring this about in me?"-Let Him do it and perhaps you
[ 234 ] Useless Knowledge
To teach your intellect what has to be learned by your whole being,
what cannot be understood without the whole being, what it would do you no
good to understand save you understood it in your whole being-if this be the
province of any man, it is not mine. Let the dead bury their dead, and the
dead teach their dead.
[ 235 ] The Art of Being Created
Let patience have her perfect work. Statue under the chisel of the
sculptor, stand steady to the blows of his mallet. Clay on the wheel, let
the fingers of the divine potter model you at their will. Obey the Father's
lightest word: hear the Brother who knows you and died for you.
[ 236 ] When We Do Not Find Him
Thy hand be on the latch to open the door at His first knock. Shouldst
thou open the door and not see Him, do not say He did not knock, but
understand that He is there, and wants thee to go out to Him. It may be He
has something for thee to do for Him. Go and do it, and perhaps thou wilt
return with a new prayer, to find a new window in thy soul.
[ 237 ] Prayer
Never wait for fitter time or place to talk to Him. To wait till thou
go to church or to thy closet is to make Him wait. He will listen as thou
[ 238 ] On One's Critics
Do not heed much if men mock you and speak lies of you, or in goodwill
defend you unworthily. Heed not much if even the righteous turn their backs
upon you. Only take heed that you turn not from them.
[ 239 ] Free Will
He gave man the power to thwart His will, that, by means of that same
power, he might come at last to do His will in a higher kind and way than
would otherwise have been possible to him.
[ 240 ] On Idle Tongues
Let a man do right, not trouble himself about worthless opinion; the
less he heeds tongues, the less difficult will he find it to love men.
[ 241 ] Do We Love Light?
Do you so love the truth and the right that you welcome, or at least
submit willingly to, the idea of an exposure of what in you is yet unknown
to yourself-an exposure that may redound to the glory of the truth by making
you ashamed and humble? . . . Are you willing to be made glad that you were
wrong when you thought others were wrong?
[ 242 ] Shame
We may trust God with our past as heartily as with our future. It will
not hurt us so long as we do not try to hide things, so long as we are ready
to bow our heads in hearty shame where it is fit we should be ashamed. For
to be ashamed is a holy and blessed thing. Shame is a thing to shame only
those who want to appear, not those who want to be. Shame is to shame those
who want to pass their examination, not those who would get into the heart
of things. ... To be humbly ashamed is to be plunged in the cleansing bath
[ 243 ] The Wakening
What a horror will it not be to a vile man .. . when his eyes are
opened to see himself as the pure see him, as God sees him! Imagine such a
man waking all at once, not only to see the eyes of the universe fixed upon
him with loathing astonishment, but to see himself at the same moment as
those eyes see him.
[ 244 ] The Wakening of the Rich
What riches and fancied religion, with the self-sufficiency they
generate between them, can make man or woman capable of, is appalling. ...
To many of the religious rich in that day, the great damning revelation will
be their behavior to the poor to whom they thought themselves very kind.
[ 245 ] Self-Deception
A man may loathe a thing in the abstract for years, and find at last
that all the time he has been, in his own person, guilty of it. To carry a
thing under our cloak caressingly, hides from us its identity with something
that stands before us on the public pillory. Many a man might read this and
assent to it, who cages in his own bosom a carrion bird that he never knows
for what it is, because there are points of difference in its plumage from
that of the bird he calls by an ugly name.
[ 246 ] Warning
"Oh God," we think, "How terrible if it were I!" Just so terrible is it
that it should be Judas. And have I not done things with the same germ in
them, a germ which, brought to its evil perfection, would have shown itself
the cankerworm, treachery? Except I love my neighbor as myself, I may one
day betray him! Let us therefore be compassionate and humble, and hope for
[ 247 ] The Slow Descent
A man may sink by such slow degrees that, long after he is a devil, he
may go on being a good churchman or a good dissenter and thinking himself a
[ 248 ] Justice and Revenge
While a satisfied justice is an unavoidable eternal event, a satisfied
revenge is an eternal impossibility.
[ 249 ] Recognition Hereafter
Our friends will know us then; for their joy, will it be, or their
sorrow? Will their hearts sink within them when they look on the real
likeness of us? Or will they rejoice to find that we were not so much to be
blamed as they thought?
[ 250 ] From Dante
To have a share in any earthly inheritance is to diminish the share of
the other inheritors. In the inheritance of the saints, that which each has
goes to increase the possession of the test.
[ 251 ] What God Means by "Good"
"They are good"; that is, "They are what I mean."
[ 252 ] All Things from God
All things are God's, not as being in His power-that of course-but as
coming from Him. The darkness itself becomes light around Him when we think
that verily He hath created the darkness, for there could have been no
darkness but for the light.
[ 253 ] Absolute Being
There is no word to represent that which is not God, no word for the
where without God in it; for it is not, could not be.
[ 254 ] Beasts
The ways of God go down into microscopic depths as well as up to
telescopic heights. ... So with mind; the ways of God go into the depths yet
unrevealed to us: He knows His horses and dogs as we cannot know them,
because we are not yet pure sons of God. When through our sonship, as Paul
teaches, the redemption of these lower brothers and sisters shall have come,
then we shall understand each other better. But now the Lord of Life has to
look on at the willful torture of multitudes of His creatures. It must be
that offenses come, but woe unto that man by whom they come! The Lord may
seem not to heed, but He sees and knows.
[ 255 ] Diversity of Souls
Every one of us is something that the other is not, and therefore knows
something-it may be without knowing that he knows it-which no one else
knows: and ... it is everyone's business, as one of the kingdom of light and
inheritor in it all, to give his portion to the rest.
[ 256 ] The Disillusioned
Loving but the body of Truth, even here they come to call it a lie, and
break out in maudlin moaning over the illusions of life.
[ 257 ] Evil
What springs from myself and not from God is evil: It is a perversion
of something of God's. Whatever is not of faith is sin; it is a stream cut
off-a stream that cuts itself off from its source and thinks to run on
[ 258 ] The Loss of the Shadow
I learned that it was not myself but only my shadow that I had lost. I
learned that it is better ... for a proud man to fall and be humbled than to
hold up his head in pride and fancied innocence. I learned that he that will
be a hero, will barely be a man; that he that will be nothing but a doer of
his work, is sure of his manhood.
[ 259 ] Love
It is by loving and not by being loved that one can come nearest to the
soul of another.
[ 260 ] From Spring to Summer
The birds grew silent, because their history kid hold on them,
compelling them to turn their words into deeds, and keep eggs warm, and hunt
[ 261 ] The Door into Life
But the door into life generally opens behind us, and a hand is put
forth which draws us in backwards. The sole wisdom for man or boy who is
haunted with the hovering of unseen wings, with the scent of unseen roses,
and the subtle enticements of "melodies unheard," is work. If he follow any
of those, they will vanish. But if he work, they will come unsought.
[ 262 ] A Lonely Religion
There is one kind of religion in which the more devoted a man is, the
fewer proselytes he makes: the worship of himself.
[ 263 ] Love
Love makes everything lovely: hate concentrates itself on the one thing
[ 264 ] A False Method
It is not by driving away our brother that we can be alone with God.
[ 265 ] Assimilation
All wickedness tends to destroy individuality and declining natures
assimilate as they sink.
[ 266 ] Looking
"But ye was luikin' for somebody, auntie."-"Na. I was only jist
luikin'." ... It is this formless idea of something at hand that keeps men
and women striving to tear from the bosom of the world the secret of their
own hopes. How little they know that what they look for in reality is their
[ 267 ] Progress
To tell the truth, I feel a good deal younger. For then I only knew
that a man had to take up his cross; whereas now I know that a man has to
[ 268 ] Providence
People talk about special providences. I believe in the providences,
but not in the specialty. . . . The so-called special providences are no
exception to the rule-they are common to all men at all moments.
[ 269 ] Ordinariness
That which is best He gives most plentifully, as is reason with Him.
Hence the quiet fullness of ordinary nature; hence the Spirit to them that
[ 270 ] Forgiveness
I prayed to God that He would make me . . . into a rock which swallowed
up the waves of wrong in its great caverns and never threw them back to
swell the commotion of the angry sea whence they came. Ah, what it would be
actually to annihilate wrong in this way-to be able to say, "It shall not be
wrong against me, so utterly do I forgive it!" . . . But the painful fact
will show itself, not less curious than painful, that it is more difficult
to forgive small wrongs than great ones. Perhaps, however, the forgiveness
of the great wrongs is not so true as it seems. For do we not think it a
fine thing to forgive such wrongs and so do it rather for our own sakes than
for the sake of the wrongdoer? It is dreadful not to be good, and to have
bad ways inside one.
[ 271 ] Visitors
By all means tell people, when you are busy about something that must
be done, that you cannot spare the time for them except they want of you
something of yet more pressing necessity; but tell them, and do not get rid
of them by the use of the instrument commonly called the cold shoulder. It
is a wicked instrument.
[ 272 ] Prose
My own conviction is that the poetry is far the deepest in us and that
the prose is only broken-down poetry; and likewise that to this our lives
correspond. ... As you will hear some people read poetry so that no mortal
could tell it was poetry, so do some people read their own lives and those
[ 273 ] Integrity
I would not favor a fiction to keep a whole world out of hell. The hell
that a lie would keep any man out of is doubtless the very best place for
him to go to. It is truth . . . that saves the world!
[ 274 ] Contentment
Let me, if I may, be ever welcomed to my room in winter by a glowing
hearth, in summer by a vase of flowers; if I may not, let me think how nice
they would be, and bury myself in my work. I do not think that the road to
contentment lies in despising what we have not got. Let us acknowledge all
good, all delight that the world holds, and be content without it.
[ 275 ] Psychical Research
Offered the Spirit of God for the asking .. . they betake themselves to
necromancy instead, and raise the dead to ask their advice, and follow it,
and will find some day that Satan had not forgotten how to dress like an
angel of light. . . . What religion is there in being convinced of a future
state? Is that to worship God? It is no more religion than the belief that
the sun will rise tomorrow is religion. It may be a source of happiness to
those who could not believe it before, but it is not religion.
[ 276 ] The Blotting Out
If He pleases to forget anything, then He can forget it. And I think
that is what He does with our sins- that is, after He has got them away from
us, once we are clean from them altogether. It would be a dreadful thing if
He forgot them before that. . . .
[ 277 ] On a Chapter in Isaiah
The power of God is put side by side with the weakness of men, not that
He, the perfect, may glory over His feeble children ... but that He may say
thus: "Look, my children, you will never be strong with my strength. I have
no other to give you."
[ 278 ] Providence
And if we believe that God is everywhere, why should we not think Him
present even in the coincidences that sometimes seem so strange? For, if He
be in the things that coincide, He must be in the coincidence of those
[ 279 ] No Other Way
The Old Man of the Earth stooped over the floor of the cave, raised a
huge stone, and left it leaning. It disclosed a great hole that went
plumb-down. "That is the way," he said. "But there are no stairs. You must
throw yourself in. There is no other way."
[ 280 ] Death
"You have tasted of death now," said the Old Man. "Is it good?" "It is
good," said Mossy. "It is better than life." "No," said the Old Man. "It is
only more life."
[ 281 ] Criterion of a True Vision
This made it the more likely that he had seen a true vision; for
instead of making common things look commonplace, as a false vision would
have done, it had made common things disclose the wonderful that was in
[ 282 ] One Reason for Sex
One of the great goods that come of having two parents is that the one
balances and rectifies the motions of the other. No one is good but God. No
one holds the truth, or can hold it, in one and the same thought, but God.
Our human life is often, at best, but an oscillation between the extremes
which together make the truth.
[ 283 ] Easy Work
Do you think the work God gives us to do is never easy? Jesus says His
yoke is easy, His burden is light. People sometimes refuse to do God's work
just because it is easy. This is sometimes because they cannot believe that
easy work is His work; but there may be a very bad pride in it. ... Some,
again, accept it with half a heart and do it with half a hand. But however
easy any work may be, it cannot be well done without taking thought about
it. And such people, instead of taking thought about their work, generally
take thought about the morrow, in which no work can be done any more than in
yesterday. The Holy Present!
[ 284 ] Lebensraum
It is only in Him that the soul has room. In knowing Him is life and
its gladness. The secret of your own heart you can never know; but you can
know Him who knows its secret.
[ 285 ] Nature
If the flowers were not perishable, we should cease to contemplate
their beauty, either blinded by the passion for hoarding the bodies of them,
or dulled by the hebetude of commonplaceness that the constant presence of
them would occasion. To compare great things with small, the flowers wither,
the bubbles break, the clouds and sunsets pass, for the very same holy
reason (in the degree of its application to them) for which the Lord
withdrew from His disciples and ascended again to His Father-that the
Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, the Soul of things, might come to them and
abide with them, and so, the Son return, and the Father be revealed. The
flower is not its loveliness, and its loveliness we must love, else we shall
only treat them as flower-greedy children, who gather and gather, and fill
hands and baskets from a mere desire of acquisition.
[ 286 ] For Parents
A parent must respect the spiritual person of his child, and approach
it with reverence, for that too looks the Father in the face and has an
audience with Him into which no earthly parent can enter even if he dared to
[ 287 ] Hoarding
The heart of man cannot hoard. His brain or his hand may gather into
its box and hoard, but the moment the thing has passed into the box, the
heart has lost it and is hungry again. If a man would have, it is the Giver
he must have; . .. Therefore all that He makes must be free to come and go
through the heart of His child; he can enjoy it only as it passes, can enjoy
only its life, its soul, its vision, its meaning, not itself.
[ 288 ] Today and Yesterday
This day's adventure, however, did not turn out like yesterday's,
although it began like it; and indeed today is very seldom like yesterday,
if people would note the differences. . . . The princess ran through passage
after passage, and could not find the stair of the tower. My own suspicion
is that she had not gone up high enough, and was searching on the second
instead of the third floor.
[ 289 ] Obstinate Illusion
He jumped up, as he thought, and began to dress, but, to his dismay,
found that he was still lying in bed. "Now then I will!" he said. "Here
goes! I am up now!" But yet again he found himself snug in bed. Twenty times
he tried, and twenty times he failed; for in fact he was not awake, only
dreaming that he was.
[ 290 ] Possessions
Happily for our blessedness, the joy of possession soon palls.
[ 291 ] Lost in the Mountains
The fear returned. People had died in the mountains of hunger, and I
began to make up my mind to meet the worst. I had not yet learned that the
approach of any fate is just the preparation for that fate. I troubled
myself with the care of that which was not impending over me. . . . Had I
been wearier and fainter, it would have appeared less dreadful.
[ 292 ] The Birth of Persecution
Clara's words appeared to me quite irreverent . . . but what to answer
here I did not know. I almost began to dislike her; for it is often
incapacity for defending the faith they love which turns men into
[ 293 ] Daily Death
We die daily. Happy those who daily come to life as well.
[ 294 ] On Duty to Oneself
"But does a man owe nothing to himself?"-"Nothing that I know of. I am
under no obligation to myself. How can I divide myself and say that the one
half of me is indebted to the other? To my mind, it is a mere fiction of
speech."-"But whence, then, should such a fiction arise?"-"From the dim
sense of a real obligation, I suspect-the object of which is mistaken. I
suspect it really springs from our relation to the unknown God, so vaguely
felt that a false form is readily accepted for its embodiment. .
[ 295 ] A Theory of Sleep
It may be said of the body in regard of sleep as well as in regard of
death, "It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. . . ." No one can
deny the power of the wearied body to paralyze the soul; but I have a
correlate theory which I love, and which I expect to find true-that, while
the body wearies the mind, it is the mind that restores vigor to the body,
and then, like the man who has built him a stately palace, rejoices to dwell
in it. I believe that, if there be a living, conscious love at the heart of
the universe, the mind, in the quiescence of its consciousness in sleep,
comes into a less disturbed contact with its origin, the heart of the
creation; whence gifted with calmness and strength for itself, it grows able
to impart comfort and restoration to the weary frame. The cessation of labor
affords but the necessary occasion; makes it possible, as it were, for the
occupant of an outlying station in the wilderness to return to his Father's
house for fresh supplies. . . . The child-soul goes home at night, and
returns in the morning to the labors of the school.
[ 296 ] Sacred Idleness
Work is not always required of a man. There is such a thing as a sacred
idleness, the cultivation of which is now fearfully neglected.
[ 297 ] The Modern Bane
Former periods of the world's history when that blinding
self-consciousness which is the bane of ours was yet undeveloped. . .
[ 298 ] Immortality
To some minds the argument for immortality drawn from the apparently
universal shrinking from annihilation must be ineffectual, seeing they
themselves do not shrink from it. ... If there is no God, annihilation is
the one thing to be longed for, with all that might of longing which is the
mainspring of human action. In a word, it is not immortality the human heart
cries out after, but that immortal, eternal thought whose life is its life,
whose wisdom is its wisdom. . . . Dissociate immortality from the living
Immortality, and it is not a thing to be desired.
[ 299 ] Prayer
"O God!" I cried and that was all. But what are the prayers of the
whole universe more than expansion of that one cry? It is not what God can
give us, but God that we want.
[ 300 ] Self
I sickened at the sight of Myself; how should I ever get rid of the
demon? The same instant I saw the one escape: I must offer it back to its
source-commit it to Him who had made it. I must live no more from it but
from the source of it; seek to know nothing more of it than He gave me to
know by His presence therein... . What flashes of self-consciousness might
cross me, should be God's gift, not of my seeking, and offered again to Him
in every new self-sacrifice.
[ 301 ] Visions
A man may see visions manifold, and believe them all; . . . something
more is needed-he must have that presence of God in his soul of which the
Son of Man spoke, saying "If a man love me, he will keep my words; and my
Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with
[ 302 ] The Impervious Soul
As for any influence from the public officers of religion, a contented
soul may glide through them all for a long life, unstruck to the last,
buoyant and evasive as a bee among hailstones.
[ 303 ] An Old Garden
Not one of the family had ever cared for it on the ground of its
old-fashionedness; its preservation was owing merely to the fact that their
gardener was blessed with a wholesome stupidity rendering him incapable of
unlearning what his father, who had been gardener there before him, had had
marvelous difficulty in teaching him. We do not half appreciate the benefits
to the race that spring from honest dullness. The clever people are the ruin
[ 304 ] Experience
Those who gain no experience are those who shirk the King's highway for
fear of encountering the Duty seated by the roadside.
[ 305 ] Difficulties
It often seems to those in earnest about the right as if all things
conspired to prevent their progress. This, of course, is but an appearance,
arising in part from this, that the pilgrim must be headed back from the
side-paths into which he is constantly wandering.
[ 306 ] A Hard Saying
There are those who in their very first seeking of it are nearer to the
Kingdom of Heaven than many who have for years believed themselves of it. In
the former there is more of the mind of Jesus, and when He calls them they
recognize Him at once and go after Him; while the others examine Him from
head to foot, and finding Him not sufficiently like the Jesus of their
conception, turn their backs and go to church or chapel or chamber to kneel
before a vague form mingled of tradition and fancy.
[ 307 ] Truisms
A mere truism, is it? Yes, it is, and more is the pity; for what is a
truism, as most men count truisms? What is it but a truth that ought to have
been buried long ago in the lives of men-to send up forever the corn of true
deeds and the wine of loving kindness-but, instead of being buried in
friendly soil, is allowed to lie about, kicked hither and thither in the dry
and empty garret of their brains, till they are sick of the sight and sound
of it and, to be rid of the thought of it, declare it to be no living truth
but only a lifeless truism? Yet in their brain that truism must rattle until
they shift to its rightful quarters in their heart, where it will rattle no
longer but take root and be a strength and loveliness.
[ 308 ] On Asking Advice
When people seek advice it is too often in the hope of finding the
adviser side with their second familiar self instead of their awful first
self of which they know so little.
[ 309 ] No Heel Taps
It must be remembered that a little conceit is no more to be endured
than a great one, but must be swept utterly away.
[ 310 ] Silence Before the Judge
Think not about thy sin so as to make it either less or greater in
thine own eyes. Bring it to Jesus and let Him show thee how vile a thing it
is. And leave it to Him to judge thee, sure that He will judge thee justly;
extenuating nothing, for He hath to cleanse thee utterly; and yet forgetting
no smallest excuse that may cover the amazement of thy guilt or witness for
thee that not with open eyes didst thou do the deed. . . . But again, I say,
let it be Christ that excuseth thee. He will do it to more purpose than
thou, and will not wrong thy soul by excusing thee a hair too much.
[ 311 ] Nothing So Deadening
Nothing is so deadening to the divine as an habitual dealing with the
outsides of holy things.
[ 312 ] Rounding and Completion
The only perfect idea of life is a unit, self-existent and creative.
That is God, the only One. But to this idea, in its kind, must every life,
to be complete as life, correspond; and the human correspondence to
self-existence is that the man should round and complete himself by taking
in to himself his Origin; by going back and in his own will adopting that
Origin.. . . Then has he completed the cycle by turning back upon his
history, laying hold of his Cause, and willing his own being in the will of
the only I AM.
[ 313 ] Immortality
"I cannot see what harm would come of letting us know a little-as much
at least as might serve to assure us that there was more of something on the
other side"-Just this; that, their fears allayed, their hopes encouraged
from any lower quarter, men would (as usual) turn away from the Fountain, to
the cistern of life. . . . That there are thousands who would forget God if
they could but be assured of such a tolerable state of things beyond the
grave as even this wherein we now live, is plainly to be anticipated from
the fact that the doubts of so many in respect of religion concentrate
themselves nowadays upon the question whether there is any life beyond the
grave; a question which . . . does not immediately belong to religion at
all. Satisfy such people, if you can, that they shall live, and what have
they gained? A little comfort perhaps-but a comfort not from the highest
source, and possibly gained too soon for their well-being. Does it bring
them any nearer to God than they were before? Is He filling one cranny more
of their hearts in consequence?
[ 314 ] The Eternal Now
The bliss of the animals lies in this, that, on their lower level, they
shadow the bliss of those-few at any moment on the earth-who do not "look
before and after, and pine for what is not" but live in the holy
carelessness of the eternal now.
[ 315 ] The Silences Below
Even the damned must at times become aware of what they are, and then
surely a terrible though momentary hush must fall upon the forsaken regions.
[ 316 ] Dipsomania
It is a human soul still, and wretched in the midst of all that whisky
can do for it. From the pit of hell it cries out. So long as there is that
which can sin, it is a man. And the prayer of misery carries its own
justification, when the sober petitions of the self-righteous and the unkind
are rejected. He who forgives not is not forgiven, and the prayer of the
Pharisee is as the weary beating of the surf of hell, while the cry of a
soul out of its fire sets the heartstrings of love trembling.
[ 317 ] Reminder
But the sparrow and the rook are just as respectable in reality, though
not in the eyes of the henwife, as the egg-laying fowl, or the dirt-gobbling
[ 318 ] Things Rare and Common
The best things are the commonest, but the highest types and the best
combinations of them are the rarest. There is more love in the world than
anything else, for instance; but the best love and the individual in whom
love is supreme are the rarest of all things.
[ 319 ] Holy Laughter
It is the heart that is not yet sure of its God that is afraid to laugh
in His presence.
[ 320 ] The Self
Vain were the fancy, by treatise, or sermon, or poem, or tale, to
persuade a man to forget himself. He cannot if he would. Sooner will he
forget the presence of a raging tooth. There is no forgetting of ourselves
but in the finding of our deeper, our true self-God's idea of us when He
devised us-the Christ in us. Nothing but that self can displace the false,
greedy, whining self, of which most of us are so fond and proud. And that
self no man can find for himself . . . "but as many as received Him, to them
gave He power to become the sons of God."
[ 321 ] Either-Or
Of all teachings that which presents a far distant God is the nearest
to absurdity. Either there is none, or He is nearer to every one of us than
our nearest consciousness of self.
[ 322 ] Prayer
So thinking, she began to pray to what dim, distorted reflection of God
there was in her mind. They alone pray to the real God, the Maker of the
heart that prays, who know His son Jesus. If our prayers were heard only in
accordance with the idea of God to which we seem to ourselves to pray, how
miserably would our infinite wants be met! But every honest cry, even if
sent into the deaf ear of an idol, passes on to the ears of the unknown God,
the heart of the unknown Father.
[ 323 ] A Bad Conscience
She was sorely troubled with what is, by huge discourtesy, called a bad
conscience-being in reality a conscience doing its duty so well that it
makes the whole house uncomfortable.
[ 324 ] Money
He had a great respect for money and much overrated its value as a
means of doing even what he called good: religious people generally do.
[ 325 ] Scrubbing the Cell
The things that come out of a man are they that defile him, and to get
rid of them a man must go into himself, be a convict, and scrub the floor of
[ 326 ] The Mystery of Evil
Middling people are shocked at the wickedness of the wicked; Gibbie,
who knew both so well, was shocked only at the wickedness of the righteous.
He never came quite to understand Mr. Sclater: the inconsistent never can be
understood. That only which has absolute reason in it can be understood of
man. There is a bewilderment about the very nature of evil which only He who
made up capable of evil that we might be good, can comprehend.
[ 327 ] Prudence
No man can order his life, for it comes flowing over him from behind. .
. . 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.
[ 328 ] Competition
No work noble or lastingly good can come of emulation any more than of
greed: I think the motives are spiritually the same.
[ 329 ] Method
By obeying one learns how to obey.
[ 330 ] Prudence
Had he had more of the wisdom of the serpent ... he would perhaps have
known that to try too hard to make people good is one way to make them
worse; that the only way to make them good is to be good-remembering well
the beam and the mote; that the time for speaking comes rarely, the time for
being never departs.
[ 331 ] How to Become a Dunce
Naturally capable, he had already made of himself rather a dull fellow;
for when a man spends his energy on appearing to have, he is all the time
destroying what he has, and therein the very means of becoming what he
desires to seem. If he gains his end, his success is his punishment.
[ 332 ] Love
He was... one who did not make the common miserable blunder of taking
the shadow cast by love-the desire, namely, to be loved-for love itself; his
love was a vertical sun, and his own shadow was under his feet.... But do
not mistake me through confounding, on the other hand, the desire to be
loved-which is neither wrong nor noble, any more than hunger is either wrong
or noble-and the delight in being loved, to be devoid of which a man must be
lost in an immeasurably deeper, in an evil, ruinous, yea, a fiendish
[ 333 ] Preacher's Repentance
O Lord, I have been talking to the people;
Thought's wheels have round me whirled a fiery zone,
And the recoil of my word's airy ripple
My heart heedful has purled up and blown.
Therefore I cast myself before thee prone:
Lay cool hands on my burning brain and press
From my weak heart the swelling emptiness.
[ 334 ] Deeds
I would go near thee-but I cannot press
Into thy presence-it helps not to presume.
Thy doors are deeds.
[ 335 ] Prayer
My prayers, my God, flow from what I am not;
I think thy answers make me what I am.
Like weary waves thought follows upon thought,
But the still depth beneath is all thine own,
And there thou mov'st in paths to us unknown.
Out of strange strife thy peace is strangely wrought;
If the lion in us pray-thou answerest the lamb.
[ 336 ] The House Is Not for Me
The house is not for me-it is for Him.
His royal thoughts require many a stair,
Many a tower, many an outlook fair
Of which I have no thought.
[ 337 ] Hoarding
In holy things may be unholy greed.
Thou giv'st a glimpse of many a lovely thing
Not to be stored for use in any mind,
But only for the present spiritual need.
The holiest bread, if hoarded, soon will breed
The mammon-moth, the having pride....
[ 338 ] The Day's First Job
With every morn my life afresh must break
The crust of self, gathered about me fresh.
[ 339 ] Obstinate Illusion
Have pity on us for the look of things,
When blank denial stares us in the face.
Although the serpent mask have lied before
It fascinates the bird.
[ 340 ] The Rules of Conversation
Only no word of mine must ever foster
The self that in a brother's bosom gnaws;
I may not fondle failing, nor the boaster
Encourage with the breath of my applause.
[ 341 ] A Neglected Form of Justice
We should never wish our children or friends to do what we would not do
ourselves if we were in their positions. We must accept righteous sacrifices
as well as make them.
[ 342 ] Good
"But if a body was never to do anything but what he knew to be good, he
would have to live half his time doing nothing"-"How little you must have
thought! Why, you don't seem even to know the good of the things you are
constantly doing. Now don't mistake me. I don't mean you are good for doing
them. It is a good thing to eat your breakfast, but you don't fancy it's
very good of you to do it. The thing is good-not you. . . . There are a
great many more good things than bad things to do."
[ 343 ] Thou Shalt Not Make Any Graven Image
"Could you not give me some sign, or tell me something about you that
never changes, or some other way to know you, or thing to know you by?"-"No,
Curdie: that would be to keep you from knowing me. You must know me in quite
another way from that. It would not be the least use to you or me either if
I were to make you know me in that way. It would be but to know the sign of
me-not to know me myself."
[ 344 ] How to Become a Dunce
A beast does not know that he is a beast, and the nearer a man gets to
being a beast the less he knows it.
[ 345 ] Our Insolvency
If we spent our lives in charity, we should never overtake neglected
claims-claims neglected from the very begining of the relations of men.
[ 346 ] A Sad Pity
"If ever I prayed, mother, I certainly have not given it up."-"Ever
prayed, Ian! When a mere child you prayed like an aged Christian!"-"Ah,
mother, that was a sad pity! I asked for things of which I felt no need. I
was a hypocrite. I ought to have prayed like a little child."
[ 347 ] On Method
"Can a conscience ever get too fastidious, Ian?"-"The only way to find
out is always to obey it."
[ 348 ] Wishing
She sometimes wished she were good; but there are thousands of
wandering ghosts who would be good if they might without taking trouble; the
kind of goodness they desire would not be worth a life to hold it.
[ 349 ] Fear
Until a man has love, it is well he should have fear. So long as there
are wild beasts about, it is better to be afraid than secure.
 The Root of All Rebellion
It is because we are not near enough to Thee to partake of thy liberty
that we want a liberty of our own different from thine.
[ 351 ] Two Silly Young Women
They had a feeling, or a feeling had them, till another feeling came
and took its place. When a feeling was there, they felt as if it would never
go; when it was gone they felt as if it had never been; when it returned,
they felt as if it had never gone.
[ 352 ] Hospitality
I am proud of a race whose social relations are the last upon which
they will retrench, whose latest yielded pleasure is their hospitality. It
is a common feeling that only the well-to-do have a right to be hospitable.
The ideal flower of hospitality is almost unknown to the rich; it can hardly
be grown save in the gardens of the poor; it is one of their beatitudes.
[ 353 ] Boredom
It is not the banished demon only that wanders seeking rest, but souls
upon souls in ever growing numbers. The world and Hades swarm with them.
They long after a repose that is not mere cessation of labor; there is a
positive, an active rest. Mercy was only beginning to seek it, and that
without knowing what it was she needed. Ian sought it in silence with God;
she in crepitant intercourse with her kind. Naturally ready to fall into
gloom, but healthy enough to avoid it, she would rush at anything to do- not
to keep herself from thinking, for she had hardly begun to think, but to
escape that heavy sense of non-existence, that weary and testless want which
is the only form life can take to the yet unliving.
[ 354 ] Counting the Cost
I am sometimes almost terrified at the scope of the demands made upon
me, at the perfection of the self-abandonment required of me; yet outside of
such absoluteness can be no salvation. In God we live every commonplace as
well as most exalted moment of our being. To trust in Him when no need is
pressing, when things seem going right of themselves, may be harder than
when things seem going wrong.
[ 355 ] Realism
It is when we are most aware of the j'attitude of things that we are
most aware of our need of God, and most able to trust in Him. . . . The
recognition of inexorable reality in any shape, or kind, or way, tends to
rouse the soul to the yet more real, to its relations with higher and deeper
existence. It is not the hysterical alone for whom the great dash of cold
water is good. All who dream life instead of living it, require some similar
[ 356 ] Avarice
"Did you ever think of the origin of the word Avarice?" -"No."-"It
comes-at least it seems to me to come- from the same root as the verb have.
It is the desire to call things ours-the desire of company which is not of
our kind-company such as, if small enough, you would put in your pocket and
carry about with you. We call the holding in the hand, or the house, or the
pocket, or the power, having: but things so held cannot really be had;
having is but an illusion in regard to things. It is only what we can be
with that we really possess-that is, what is of our kind, from God to the
lowest animal partaking of humanity."
[ 357 ] The Lobster Pot
She had not learned that the look of things as you go, is not their
look when you turn to go back; that with your attitude their mood will have
altered. Nature is like a lobster pot: she lets you easily go on, but not
[ 358 ] The First Meeting
And all the time it was God near her that was making her unhappy. For
as the Son of Man came not to send peace on the earth but a sword, so the
first visit of God to the human soul is generally in a cloud of fear and
doubt, rising from the soul itself at His approach. The sun is the cloud
dispeller, yet often he must look through a fog if he would visit the earth
[ 359 ] Reminder
Complaint against God is far nearer to God than indifference about Him.
[ 360 ] The Wrong Way with Anxiety
All the morning he was busy . . . with his heart in trying to content
himself beforehand with whatever fate the Lord might intend for him. As yet
he was more of a Christian philosopher than a philosophical Christian. The
thing most disappointing to him he would treat as the will of God for him,
and try to make up his mind to it, persuading himself it was the right and
best thing-as if he knew it (to be) the will of God. He was thus working in
the region of supposition and not of revealed duty: in his own imagination,
and not in the will of God. . . . There is something in the very presence
and actuality of a thing to make one able to bear it; but a man may weaken
himself for bearing what God intends him to bear, by trying to bear what God
does not intend him to bear. . . . We have no right to school ourselves to
an imaginary duty. When we do not know, then what he lays upon us is not to
[ 361 ] Deadlock
We are often unable to tell people what they need to know, because they
want to know something else.
[ 362 ] Solitude
I began to learn that it was impossible to live for oneself even, save
in the presence of others-then, alas, fearfully possible. Evil was only
through good; selfishness but a parasite on the tree of life.
[ 363 ] Death
You will be dead so long as you refuse to die.
[ 364 ] Tbe Mystery of Evil
The darkness knows neither the light nor itself; only the light knows
itself and the darkness also. None but God hates evil and understands it.
[ 365 ] The Last Resource
"Lilith," said Mara, "you will not sleep, if you lie there a thousand
years, until you have opened your hand and yielded that which is not yours
to give or to withhold." "I cannot," she answered, "I would if I could, for
I am weary, and the shadows of death are gathering about me."-"They will
gather and gather, but they cannot infold you while yet your hand remains
unopened. You may think you are dead, but it will only be a dream; you may
think you have come awake, but it will still be only a dream. Open your
hand, and you will sleep indeed- then wake indeed."-"I am trying hard, but
the fingers have grown together and into the palm."-"I pray you put forth
the strength of your will. For the love of life, draw together your forces
and break its bonds!"
The princess turned her eyes upon Eve, beseechingly. "There was a sword
I once saw in your husband's hands," she murmured. "I fled when I saw it. I
heard him who bore it say it would divide whatever was not one and
"I have the sword," said Adam. "The angel gave it me when he left the
"Bring it, Adam," pleaded Lilith, "and cut me off this hand that I may
"I will," he answered.
1 UNSPOKEN SERMONS, First Series, The Child in the Mist
2-9 UNSPOKEN SERMONS, First Series, The Consuming Fire
10 UNSPOKEN SERMONS, First Series, The Higher Faith
11-13 UNSPOKEN SERMONS, First Series, // Shall Not be Forgiven
14-21 UNSPOKEN SERMONS, First Series, The New Name
22-24 UNSPOKEN SERMONS, First Series, The Heart with the Treasure
25-30 UNSPOKEN SERMONS, First Series, The Temptation in the Wilderness
31-39 UNSPOKEN SERMONS, First Series, The Eloi
40-42 UNSPOKEN SERMONS, First Series, The Hands of the Father
43-49 UNSPOKEN SERMONS, First Series, Love Thy Neighbor
50-51 UNSPOKEN SERMONS, First Series, Love Thine Enemy
52 UNSPOKEN SERMONS, First Series, The God of the Living
53-62 UNSPOKEN SERMONS, Second Series, The Way
63-71 UNSPOKEN SERMONS, Second Series, The Hardness of the Way
72-84 UNSPOKEN SERMONS, Second Series, The Cause of Spiritual
85-95 UNSPOKEN SERMONS, Second Series, The Word of Jesus on Prayer
96-107 UNSPOKEN SERMONS, Second Series, Man's Difficulty Concerning
108-118 UNSPOKEN SERMONS, Second Series, The Last Farthing
119-126 UNSPOKEN SERMONS, Second Series, Abba, Father
127-141 UNSPOKEN SERMONS, Second Series, Life
142-147 UNSPOKEN SERMONS, Second Series, The Fear of God
148-154 UNSPOKEN SERMONS, Second Series, The Voice of Job
155-164 UNSPOKEN SERMONS, Second Series, Self-Denial
165-167 UNSPOKEN SERMONS, Second Series, The Truth in Jesus
168-177 UNSPOKEN SERMONS, Third Series, The Creation in Christ
178-180 UNSPOKEN SERMONS, Third Series, The Knowing of the Son
181-183 UNSPOKEN SERMONS, Third Series, The Mirrors of the Lord
184-199 UNSPOKEN SERMONS, Third Series, The Truth
200-202 UNSPOKEN SERMONS, Third Series, Freedom
203-206 UNSPOKEN SERMONS, Third Series, King-ship
207-215 UNSPOKEN SERMONS, Third Series, Justice
216-219 UNSPOKEN SERMONS, Third Series, Light
220-223 UNSPOKEN SERMONS, Third Series, The Displeasure of Jesus
224-238 UNSPOKEN SERMONS, Third Series, Righteousness
239-249 UNSPOKEN SERMONS, Third Series, The Final Unmasking
250-257 UNSPOKEN SERMONS, Third Series, The Inheritance
258 Phantasies, Chapter 22
259 Phantasies, Chapter 23
260 Alec Forbes, Volume I, Chapter 32
261 Alec Forbes, Volume I, Chapter 33
262 Alec Forbes, Volume II, Chapter I
263 Alec Forbes, Volume II, Chapter 10
264 Alec Forbes, Volume II, Chapter 12
265 Alec Forbes, Volume III, Chapter 4
266 Alec Forbes, Volume III, Chapter 26
267-268 Annals of a Quiet Neighborhood, Chapter I
269 Annals of a Quiet Neighborhood, Chapter 3
270-271 Annals of a Quiet Neighborhood, Chapter 5
272 Annals of a Quiet Neighborhood, Chapter 7
273 Annals of a Quiet Neighborhood, Chapter 9
274 Annals of a Quiet Neighborhood, Chapter n
275 Annals of a Quiet Neighborhood, Chapter 15
276 Annals of a Quiet Neighborhood, Chapter 28
277-278 Annals of a Quiet Neighborhood, Chapter 30
279-280 The Golden Key
281 The Shadows
282 The Seaboard Parish, Chapter 2
283 The Seaboard Parish, Chapter 3
284 The Seaboard Parish, Chapter 13
285 The Seaboard Parish, Chapter 19
286 The Seaboard Parish, Chapter 23
287 The Seaboard Parish, Chapter 32
288 The Princess and the Goblin, Chapter 5
289 The Princess and the Goblin, Chapter 27
290 Wilfred Cumbermede, Chapter n
291 Wilfred Cumbermede, Chapter 17
292 Wilfred Cumbermede, Chapter 18
293 Wilfred, Cumbermede, Chapter 22
294 Wilfred Cumbermede, Chapter 42
295 Wilfred Cumbermede, Chapter 48
296 Wilfred Cumbermede, Chapter 55
297 Wilfred Cumbermede, Chapter 57
298 Wilfred Cumbermede, Chapter 58
299-300 Wilfred Cumbermede, Chapter 59
301 Wilfred Cumbermede, Chapter 60
302-303 Thomas Wingfold, Curate, Chapter 7
304 Thomas Wingfold, Curate, Chapter 17
305-306 Thomas Wingfold, Curate, Chapter 36
307 Thomas Wingfold, Curate, Chapter 39
308 Thomas Wingfold, Curate, Chapter 54
309 Thomas Wingfold, Curate, Chapter 66
310 Thomas Wingfold, Curate, Chapter 67
311 Thomas Wingfold, Curate, Chapter 74
312 Thomas Wingfold, Curate, Chapter 76
313 Thomas Wingfold, Curate, Chapter 94
314-315 Sir Gibbie, Chapter 2
316 Sir Gibbie, Chapter 6
317 Sir Gibbie, Chapter 7
318 Sir Gibbie, Chapter 8
319 Sir Gibbie, Chapter 23
320 Sir Gibbie, Chapter 24
321 Sir Gibbie, Chapter 25
322 Sir Gibbie, Chapter 29
323 Sir Gibbie, Chapter 37
324 Sir Gibbie, Chapter 39
325 Sir Gibbie, Chapter 40
326 Sir Gibbie, Chapter 41
327-328 Sir Gibbie, Chapter 44
329-330 Sir Gibbie, Chapter 47
331 Sir Gibbie, Chapter 50
332 Sir Gibbie, Chapter 59
333 Diary of an Old Soul, January 31
334 Diary of an Old Soul, May 16
335 Diary of an Old Soul, May 26
336 Diary of an Old Soul, July 16
337 Diary of an Old Soul, August 7
338 Diary of an Old Soul, October 10
339 Diary of an Old Soul, November 3
340 Diary of an Old Soul, November 9
341 The Princess and the Curdie, Chapter I
342 The Princess and the Curdie, Chapter 3
343 The Princess and the Curdie, Chapter 7
344 The Princess and the Curdie, Chapter 8
345 What's Mine's Mine, Chapter 5
346 What's Mine's Mine, Chapter 7
347 What's Mine's Mine, Chapter 9
348-349 What's Mine's Mine, Chapter n
350 What's Mine's Mine, Chapter 15
351-352 What's Mine's Mine, Chapter 16
353 What's Mine's Mine, Chapter 17
354 What's Mine's Mine, Chapter 22
355 What's Mine's Mine, Chapter 30
356 What's Mine's Mine, Chapter 32
357-358 What's Mine's Mine, Chapter 33
359 What's Mine's Mine, Chapter 39
360 What's Mine's Mine, Chapter 41
361 Lilith, Chapter 9
362 Lilith, Chapter 16
363 Lilith, Chapter 31
364 Lilith, Chapter 39
365 Lilith, Chapter 40
Within and Without, a Poem 1855
Phantastes: a Faerie Romance for Men and Women 1858
David Elginbrod. 3 vols. 1863
Adela Cathcart. 3 vols. 1864
The Portent: a story of the Inner Vision of the
Highlanders commonly called the Second Sight 1864
Alec Forbes of Howglen. 3 vols. 1865
Annals of a Quiet Neighbourhood. 3 vols. 1867
Dealings with the Fairies 1867
The Disciple and other Poems 1867
Unspoken Sermons, 1st Series 1867
2nd Series 1885
3rd Series 1889
Guild Court. 3 vols. 1868
Robert Falconer. 3 vols. 1868
The Seaboard Parish. 3 vols. 1868
The Miracles of our Lord. 1 vol. 1870
At the Back of the North Wind 1871
Ranald Bannerman's Boyhood 1871
Works of Fancy and Imagination (chiefly reprints)
10 vols 1871
The Princess and the Goblin 1872
The Vicar's Daughter. 3 vols. 1872
Wilfrid Cumbermede. 3 vols. 1872
Gutta Percha Willie: the Working Genius 1873
England's Antiphon 1874
Malcolm. 3 vols. 1875
The Wise Woman, a Parable 1875
Thomas Wingfold, Curate. 3 vols. 1876
St. George and St. Michael. 3 vols. 1876
Exotics: a Translation (in verse) of the Spiritual
Songs of Novalis, the Hymn Book of Luther and
other Poems from the German and Italian 1876
The Marquis of Lossie. 3 vols. 1877
Sir Gibbie. 3 vols. 1879
Paul Faber, Surgeon. 3 vols. 1879
A Book of Strife, in the form of the Diary of an
Old Soul 1880
Mary Marston. 3 vols. 1881
Castle Warlock, a homely romance. 3 vols. 1882
Weighed and Wanting. 3 vols. 1882
The Gifts of the Christ Child, and other Tales.
2 vols. 1882
Afterwards published with title of Stephen Archer
and Other Tales. 1 vol. n.d.
Donal Grant. 3 vols. 1883
A Threefold Cord. Poems by Three Friends,
edited by George MacDonald 1883
The Princess and Curdie 1883
The Tragedie of Hamlet-with a study of the
text of the Folio of 1623 1885
What's Mine's Mine. 3 vols. 1886
Home Again, a Tale. 1 vol. 1887
The Elect Lady, 1 vol. 1888
Cross Purposes, and The Shadows: Two Fairy
Stories (reprinted from Dealings with the
A Rough Shaking, a Tale 1890
The Light Princess and other Fairy Stories
(reprinted from Dealings with the Fairies) 1890
There and Back. 3 vols. 1891
The Flight of the Shadow. 1 vol. 1891
A Cabinet of Gems, cut and polished by Sir Philip
Sidney, now for their more radiance presented
without their setting by George MacDonald 1891
The Hope of the Gospel 1892
Heather and Snow. 2 vols. 1893
Lilith, a Romance, 1 vol. 1895
Rampolli: Growths from a Long-planted Root,
being translations chiefly from the German,
along with A Year's Diary of an Old Soul
Salted with Fire, a Tale, 1 vol. 1897
Poetical Works of George MacDonald. 2 vols. 1893
The Portent and Other Stories (reprints) n.d.
Fairy Tales of George MacDonald (reprints) 1904
Scotch Songs and Ballads (reprints) 1893
"George MacDonald. An Antology"
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