The lightning and thunder, / They go and they come; / But the stars and the stillness / Are always at home.

George MacDonald

...of the life and works.

Some persons no matrimonial service can ever make one; others are one & will be one in Heaven I think, whom no rite civil or religious has declared to be so before their fellow mortals.

George MacDonald, letter to a couple on their wedding day. (via Barbara Amell)

A mountain is a strange and awful thing. In old times, without knowing so much of their strangeness and awfulness as we do, people were yet more afraid of mountains. But then somehow they had not come to see how beautiful they are as well as awful, and they hated them - and what people hate they must fear. Now that we have learned to look at them with admiration, perhaps we do not feel quite awe enough of them. To me they are beautiful terrors.

I will try to tell you what they are. They are portions of the heart of the earth that have escaped from the dungeon down below, and rushed up and out. For the heart of the earth is a great wallowing mass, not of blood, as in the hearts of men and animals, but of glowing hot, melted metals and stones. And as our hearts keep us alive, so that great lump of heat keeps the earth alive: it is a huge power of buried sunlight - that is what it is.

George Macdonald (via lukescommonplacebook)

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.

George MacDonald, on the wedding at Cana, in Man’s Difficulty Concerning Prayer. (via gmd)

(Source: lychnikon)

A poet is a man who is glad of something, and tries to make other people glad of it too.

North Wind, from George MacDonald’s At the Back of the North Wind (via settledthingsstrange)

(via lychnikon)

Thou doubtest because thou lovest the truth. Some would willingly believe life but a phantasm, if only it might for ever afford them a world of pleasant dreams: thou art not of such! Be content for a while not to know surely. The hour will come, and that ere long, when, being true, thou shalt behold the very truth, and doubt will be forever dead. Scarce, then, wilt thou be able to recall the features of the phantom. Thou wilt then know that which thou canst not now dream. Thou hast not yet looked the Truth in the face, hast as yet at best but seen him through a cloud. That which thou seest not, and never didst see save in a glass darkly – that which, indeed, never can be known save by its innate splendour shining straight into pure eyes – that thou canst not but doubt, and art blameless in doubting until thou seest it face to face, when thou wilt no longer be able to doubt it. But to him who has once seen even a shadow only of the truth, and, even but hoping he has seen it when it is present no longer, tries to obey it – to him the real vision, the Truth himself, will come, and depart no more, but abide with him for ever.

George MacDonald, Lilith (via gmd)

(Source: lychnikon)

Beginning at mid-century, the broadchurch Anglican F.D. Maurice and his pupil, the Rev. Charles Kingsley, began espousing the virtues of muscular Christianity. Maurice and Kingsley, like many Englishmen, worried that the Anglican Church and Britain were suffering from the evils of industrialization: among others, growing slums, poverty, secularization, and urban decay. Life was a battle, Kingsley argued, and Christians should be at the center, actively employing their “manfulness” and “usefulness” against the evils of industrialization. Kingsley doubted that traditional morality would be able to cope with the effects of industrialization unless the Church reformed itself. He also deplored what many considered to be increasingly suffocating effeminacy within the Anglican Church, and believed that muscular Christian men equipped with a cohesive philosophy consisting equally of athleticism, patriotism, and religion could rescue Church and country from sloth.

n.b., MacDonald was a friend of Maurice, and an associate of Kingsley; Maurice was the basis for a few (good) clergymen in his novels (via gmd)

(Source: lychnikon)

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.

George MacDonald, “Consuming Fire,” Unspoken Sermons (via settledthingsstrange)

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.”

George MacDonald

(Source: settledthingsstrange, via lychnikon)

Man dreams and desires; God broods and wills and quickens.

MacDonald, Lilith, 251 (via settledthingsstrange)

Every tragedy of higher order, constructed in Christian times, will correspond more or less to the grand drama of the Bible; wherein the first act opens with a brilliant sunset vision of Paradise, in which childish sense and need are served with all the profusion of the indulgent nurse. But the glory fades off into grey and black, and night settles down upon the heart which, rightly uncontent with the childish, and not having yet learned the childlike, seeks knowledge and manhood as a thing denied by the Maker, and yet to be gained by the creature; so sets forth alone to climb the heavens, and instead of climbing, falls into the abyss. Then follows the long dismal night of feverish efforts and delirious visions, or, it may be, helpless despair; till at length a deeper stratum of the soul is heaved to the surface; and amid the first dawn of morning, the youth says within him, “I have sinned against my Maker—I will arise and go to my Father.” More or less, I say, will Christian tragedy correspond to this—a fall and a rising again; not a rising only, but a victory; not a victory merely, but a triumph. Such, in its way and degree, is my story. I have shown, in one passing scene, the home paradise; now I have to show a scene of a far differing nature.

George MacDonald, Adela Cathcart, Volume II (via settledthingsstrange)

The imagination of man is made in the image of the imagination of God.

George MacDonald, “The Imagination: Its Function and Culture” (via settledthingsstrange)

As the inspiration of his fairy-tale was the spirit of the volkmärchen, so the soul of folk-music took possession of his muse. Without the thatched cottage no cathedral had ever soared; without the folk-song no oratorio; without ballad no ode or sonnet. The child is father to the man; and from now onwards we find the child’s simple faith dominating all his writing as surely as in his youth it first took control of his theology.

Greville MacDonald, writing on his father George MacDonald and his fantastic tale Phantastes. George MacDonald and His Wife, 299 (via settledthingsstrange)

All words, then, belonging to the inner world of the mind, are of the imagination, are originally poetic words. The better, however, any such word is fitted for the needs of humanity, the sooner it loses its poetic aspect by commonness of use. It ceases to be heard as a symbol, and appears only as a sign. Thus thousands of words which were originally poetic words owing their existence to the imagination, lose their vitality, and harden into mummies of prose. Not merely in literature does poetry come first, and prose afterwards, but poetry is the source of all the language that belongs to the inner world, whether it be of passion or of metaphysics, of psychology or of aspiration. No poetry comes by the elevation of prose; but the half of prose comes by the “massing into the common clay” of thousands of winged words, whence, like the lovely shells of by-gone ages, one is occasionally disinterred by some lover of speech, and held up to the light to show the play of colour in its manifold laminations.

George MacDonald, “The Imagination: Its Function and Culture” (via settledthingsstrange)

There is this difference between the growth of some human beings and that of others: in the one case it is a continuous dying, in the other a continuous resurrection. One of the latter sort comes at length to know at once whether a thing is true the moment it comes before him; one of the former class grows more and more afraid of being taken in, so afraid of it that he takes himself in altogether, and comes at length to believe in nothing but his dinner: to be sure of a thing with him is to have it between his teeth.

George MacDonald, The Princess and Curdie (via triadic)

(via triadic)