george macdonald Quotes
George MacDonald QuotesBirth Date: 1926-04-02 (Friday, April 2nd, 1926)
Date of Death: 1905-09-18 (Monday, September 18th, 1905)
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- I firmly believe people have hitherto been a great deal too much taken up about doctrine and far too little about practice. The word doctrine, as used in the Bible, means teaching of duty, not theory. I preached a sermon about this. We are far too anxious to be definite and to have finished, well-polished, sharp-edged systems - forgetting that the more perfect a theory about the infinite, the surer it is to be wrong, the more impossible it is to be right.
- Alas! how easily things go wrong! A sigh too deep or a kiss too long, And then comes a mist and a weeping rain, And life is never the same again.
- Where did you come from baby dear? Out of the everywhere into the here.
- Where did you get your eyes so blue? Out of the skies as I came through.
- Age is not all decay; it is the ripening, the swelling, of the fresh life within, that withers and bursts the husks.
- A true friend is forever a friend.
- To be trusted is a greater compliment than to be loved.
- We are often unable to tell people what they need to know because they want to know something else.
- That which is in a man, not that which lies beyond his vision is the main factor in what is about to befall him: the operation upon him is the event.
- We must do the thing we must Before the thing we may; We are unfit for any trust Till we can and do obey.
- You would not think any duty small, If you yourself were great.
- The man that feareth, Lord, to doubt, In that fear doubteth thee.
- The best thing you can do for your fellow, next to rousing his conscience, is - not to give him things to think about, but to wake things up that are in him; or say, to make him think things for himself.
- Two people may be at the same spot in manners and behaviour, and yet one may be getting better, and the other worse, which is the greatest of differences that could possibly exist between them.
- What we call evil, is the only and best shape, which, for the person and his condition at the time, could be assumed by the best good.
- Were I asked, what is a fairytale? I should reply, Read Undine: that is a fairytale ... of all fairytales I know, I think Undine the most beautiful.
- As the thoughts move in the mind of a man, so move the worlds of men and women in the mind of God...the offspring of his imagination. Man is but a thought of God.
- After a few days, Willie got tired of [the water-wheel] - and no blame to him, for it was no earthly use beyond amusement, and that which can only amuse can never amuse long. I think the reason children get tired of their toys so soon is just that it is against human nature to be really interested in what is of no use. If you say that a beautiful thing is always interesting, I answer, that a beautiful thing is of the highest use. Is not the diamond that flashes all its colours into the heart of a poet as useful as the diamond with which the glazier divides the sheets of glass into panes for our windows?
- A genuine work of art must mean many things; the truer its art, the more things it will mean. If my drawing, on the other hand, is so far from being a work of art that it needs THIS IS A HORSE written under it, what can it matter that neither you nor your child should know what it means? It is there not so much to convey a meaning as to wake a meaning. - But a man may then imagine in your work what he pleases, what you never meant! - Not what he pleases, but what he can. If he be not a true man, he will draw evil out of the best; we need not mind how he treats any work of art! If he be a true man, he will imagine true things; what matter whether I meant them or not?
- If sin must be kept alive, then hell must be kept alive; but while I regard the smallest sin as infinitely loathsome, I do not believe that any being, never good enough to see the essential ugliness of sin, could sin so as to deserve such punishment. I am not now, however, dealing with the question of the duration of punishment, but with the idea of punishment itself; and would only say in passing, that the notion that a creature born imperfect, nay, born with impulses to evil not of his own generating, and which he could not help having, a creature to whom the true face of God was never presented, and by whom it never could have been seen, should be thus condemned, is as loathsome a lie against God as could find place in heart too undeveloped to understand what justice is, and too low to look up into the face of Jesus.
- Afflictions are but the shadows of God's wings.
- Attitudes are more important than facts.
- Certainly work is not always required of man. There is such a thing as a sacred idleness - the cultivation of which is now fearfully neglected.
- Diamond, however, had not been out so late before in all his life, and things looked so strange about him! - just as if he had got into Fairyland, of which he knew quite as much as anybody; for his mother had no money to buy books to set him wrong on the subject.
- Do you think that the work God gives us to do is never easy? Jesus says that His yoke is easy, His burden is light. People sometimes refuse to do God's work just because it is easy ... But however easy any work may be, it cannot be well done without taking thought about it.
- Forgiveness is the giving, and so the receiving, of life.
- How strange this fear of death is! We are never frightened at a sunset.
- I find that doing the will of God leaves me with no time for disputing about His plans.
- It is not in the nature of politics that the best men should be elected. The best men do not want to govern their fellow men.
- It is not the cares of today, but the cares of tomorrow, that weigh a man down.
- It matters little where a man may be at this moment; the point is whether he is growing.
- 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.
- No indulgence of passion destroys the spiritual nature so much as respectable selfishness.
- 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.
- The more I work with the body, keeping my assumptions in a temporary state of reservation, the more I appreciate and sympathize with a given disease. The body no longer appears as a sick or irrational demon, but as a process with its own inner logic and wisdom.
- The principal part of faith is patience.
- The uncertainty lies always in the intellectual region, never in the practical.
- There are thousands willing to do great things for one willing to do a small thing.
- 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.
- To be trusted is a greater compliment than to be loved.
- To have what we want is riches; but to be able to do without is power.
- To try to make others comfortable is the only way to get right comfortable ourselves, and that comes partly of not being able to think so much about ourselves when we are helping other people. For our Selves will always do pretty well if we don't pay them too much attention. Our Selves are like some little children who will be happy enough so long as they are left to their own games, but when we begin to interfere with them, and make them presents of too nice playthings, or too many sweet things, they begin at once to fret and spoil.
- Where there is no choice, we do well to make no difficulty.
- You can't live on amusement. It is the froth on water - an inch deep and then the mud.
- You've got to save your own soul first, and then the souls of your neighbors if they will let you; and for that reason you must cultivate, not a spirit of criticism, but the talents that attract people to the hearing of the Word.
- But God lets men have their playthings, like the children they are, that they may learn to distinguish them from true possessions. If they are not learning that he takes them from them, and tries the other way: for lack of them and its misery, they will perhaps seek the true!
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