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George MacDonald

George MacDonald by C. S. Lewis
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C. S. Lewis said everything he wrote was influenced by George MacDonald. According to Lewis, there is "hardly any other writer who seems to be closer, or more continuously close, to the Spirit of Christ Himself." Writing a preface and selecting MacDonald's most poignant passages, Lewis introduces us to these extraordinary treasures. Ranging from "Inexorable Love" to "The Torment of Death," these words will instruct and uplift.

HarperCollins; June 2009
224 pages; ISBN 9780061949203
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Title: George MacDonald
Author: C. S. Lewis
 
Excerpt

Chapter One

[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."

[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 a saint.

[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?"

[12] 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.

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ISBNs
0061949205
9780060653194
9780061949197
9780061949203
9780061949210
9780061949227