158 Wisest Quotes By George MacDonald Which Will Enrich Your Life
Writer, Minister, Poet, Novelist, Cleric
George MacDonald’s greatness as an author, poet and writer can be best described through the words of C.S Lewis or GK Chesterton. When Lewis got himself a copy of MacDonald’s legendary book ‘Phantastes’ he claimed ‘I knew I had crossed a great frontier’. As for Chesterton, while reading MacDonald’s ‘The Princess and the Goblin’ he stated that the book had ‘made a difference to my whole existence’. Born in Scotland, MacDonald graduated from the University of Aberdeen before studying at Highbury College for the Congregational ministry. MacDonald in addition to pursuing his life as a Christian pastor turned to writing. He penned several fantasy and fairy tales in his lifetime. MacDonald often claimed that his books were not for children and instead for the child-like, despite their age. So, whether you are five, fifteen or fifty, MacDonald’s books are for the child living inside you. An exponent and a pioneering figure in the field of fantasy literature, MacDonald through his writing style and works influenced some of the then to-be greatest authors and writers including W. H. Auden, C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien and Madeleine L'Engle. Fantasy tales apart, MacDonald penned some legendary quotes that touch varied topics of life and give readers a new perspective and a new angle to ponder about. Check this section and explore some of the most popular George MacDonald quotes.
To be trusted is a greater compliment than being loved. Work is not always required. There is such a thing as sacred idleness. Her heart - like every heart, if only its fallen sides were cleared away - was an inexhaustible fountain of love: she loved everything she saw. 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. Few delights can equal the mere presence of one whom we trust utterly. Seeing is not believing - it is only seeing. To try to be brave is to be brave. 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. Come, then, affliction, if my Father wills, and be my frowning friend. A friend that frowns is better than a smiling enemy. Doing the will of God leaves me no time for disputing about His plans. It is by loving and not by being loved that one can come nearest to the soul of another. No story ever really ends, and I think I know why. Philosophy is really homesickness. All that is not God is death. I write, not for children,but for the child-like, whether they be of five, or fifty, or seventy-five. As you grow ready for it, somewhere or other you will find what is needful for you in a book. People must believe what they can, and those who believe more must not be hard upon those who believe less. I doubt if you would have believed it all yourself if you hadn't seen some of it. 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. 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. A man is as free as he chooses to make himself, never an atom freer. If we will but let our God and Father work His will with us, there can be no limit to His enlargement of our existence It is when people do wrong things wilfully that they are the more likely to do them again. Only he knew that to be left alone is not always to be forsaken. Whose work is it but your own to open your eyes? But indeed the business of the universe is to make such a fool out of you that you will know yourself for one, and begin to be wise. You must learn to be strong in the dark as well as in the day, else you will always be only half brave. You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it himself. (Quoted by C.S.Lewis in Mere Christianity) You doubt because you love truth. I don't know how to thank you.'
Then I will tell you. There is only one way I care for. Do better, and grow better, and be better. Our life is no dream; but it ought to become one, and perhaps will. And her life will perhaps be the richer, for holding now within it the memory of what came, but could not stay. Past tears are present strength. Well, perhaps; but I begin to think there are better things than being comfortable. Her face was fair and pretty, with eyes like two bits of night sky, each with a star dissolved in the blue. To love righteousness is to make it grow, not to avenge it. Throughout his life on earth, Jesus resisted every impulse to work more rapidly for a lower good. No, there is no escape. There is no heaven with a little of hell in it - no place to retain this or that of the devil in our hearts or our pockets. Out Satan must go, every hair and feather. Primarily, God is not bound to punish sin; he is bound to destroy sin.
The only vengeance worth having on sin
is to make the sinner himself its executioner. Doubt may be a poor encouragement to do anything, but it is a bad reason for doing nothing. Alas, how easily things go wrong!
A sigh too much, a kiss too long
And there follows a mist and a weeping rain
And life is never the same again Annihilation itself is no death to evil. Only good where evil was, is evil dead. An evil thing must live with its evil until it chooses to be good. That alone is the slaying of evil. If both Church and fairy-tale belong to humanity, they may occasionally cross circles, without injury to either. A Baby Sermon-
The lighting and thunder, they go and they come: But the stars and the stillness are always at home My prayers, my God, flow from what I am not;
I think thy answers make me what I am. 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. But words are vain; reject them all—
They utter but a feeble part:
Hear thou the depths from which they call,
The voiceless longing of my heart. But there are victories far worse than defeats; and to overcome an angel too gentle to put out all his strength, and ride away in triumph on the back of a devil, is one of the poorest. There is no harm in being afraid. The only harm is in doing what Fear tells you. Fear is not your master! Laugh in his face and he will run away. There is no slave but the creature that wills against its Creator. I repent me of the ignorance wherein I ever said that God made man out of nothing: there is no nothing out of which to make anything; God is all in all, and he made us out of himself. 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. Anything big enough to occupy our minds is big enough to hang a prayer on. I watched her departure, as one watches a sunset. She went like a radiance through the dark wood, which was henceforth bright to me, from simply knowing that such a creature was in it. If instead of a gem, or even a flower, we should cast the gift of a loving thought into the heart of a friend, that would be giving as the angels give. We are often unable to tell people what they need to know, because they want to know something else, and would therefore only misunderstand what we said. 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. I want to help you to grow as beautiful as God meant you to be when He thought of you first. ...though I cannot promise to take you home," said North Wind, as she sank nearer and nearer to the tops of the houses, "I can promise you it will be all right in the end. You will get home somehow. I tell you, there are more worlds, and more doors to them, than you will think of in many years! She would wonder what had hurt her when she found her face wet with tears, and then would wonder how she could have been hurt without knowing it. It is to the man who is trying to live, to the man who is obedient to the word of the Master, that the word of the Master unfolds itself. We don't have a soul. We are a soul. We have a body."
George Macdonald, 1892 But we believe – nay, Lord we only hope,
That one day we shall thank thee perfectly
For pain and hope and all that led or drove
Us back into the bosom of thy love. For that great Love speaks in the most wretched and dirty hearts; only the tone of its voice depends on the echoes of the place in which it sounds. The best preparation for the future, is the present well seen to, and the last duty done. It is the heart that is unsure of its God that is afraid to laugh. There is no strength in unbelief. Even the unbelief of what is false is no source of might. It is the truth shining from behind that gives the strength to disbelieve. Obedience is the opener of eyes. If God were not only to hear our prayers, as he does ever and always, but to answer them as we want them answered, he would not be God our Saviour but the ministering genius of our destruction. I saw thee ne'er before;
I see thee never more;
But love, and help, and pain, beautiful one,
Have made thee mine, till all my years are done. The part of the philanthropist is indeed a dangerous one; and the man who would do his neighbour good must first study how not to do him evil, and must begin by pulling the beam out of his own eye. God's finger can touch nothing but to mold it into loveliness. To cease to wonder is to fall plumb-down from the childlike to the commonplace—the most undivine of all moods intellectual. Our nature can never be at home among things that are not wonderful to us. Therefore all that is not beautiful in the beloved, all that comes between and is not of love's kind, must be destroyed. We are dwellers in a divine universe where no desires are in vain - if only they be large enough. You would not think any duty small,
If you yourself were great. Those are not the tears of repentance!... Self-loathing is not sorrow. Yet it is good, for it marks a step in the way home, and in the father's arms the prodigal forgets the self he abominates. We must do the thing we must
Before the thing we may;
We are unfit for any trust
Till we can and do obey. In moments of doubt I cry, ‘Could God Himself create such lovely things as I dreamed?’
‘Whence then came thy dream?’ answers Hope. To say on the authority of the Bible that God does a thing no honourable man would do, is to lie against God; to say that it is therefore right, is to lie against the very spirit of God. We die daily. Happy those who daily come to life as well. I am ready,' I replied.
'How do you know you can do it?'
'Because you require it,' I answered. Somehow, I can't say how, it tells me that all is right; that it is coming to swallow up all cries. The one principle of hell is – “I am my own I rose as from the death that wipes out the sadness of life, and then dies itself in the new morrow. Above all things, I delight in listening to stories, and sometimes in telling them. It is amazing from what a mere fraction of a fact concerning him a man will dare judge the whole of another man "Then what do you see?" asked Irene, who perceived at once that for her not to believe him was at least as bad as for him not to believe her. 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. Wherever there is anything to love, there is beauty in some form. But when we are following the light, even its extinction is a guide. The only way to come to know where you are is to begin to make yourself at home. Thou art beautiful because God created thee, but thou art a slave to sin... wickedness has made you ugly. That's all nonsense," said Curdie. "I don't know what you mean."
"Then if you don't know what I mean, what right have you to call it nonsense? It is because the young cannot recognize the youth of the aged, and the old will not acknowledge the experience of the young, that they repel each other. The greatest forces lie in the region of the uncomprehended. Bees and butterflies, moths and dragonflies, the flowers and the brooks and the clouds. When a man dreams his own dream, he is the sport of his dream; when Another gives it him, that Other is able to fulfill it. Books are but dead bodies to you, and a library nothing but a catacomb!
I don't believe that he thinks about His glory except for the sake
of truth and men's hearts dying for the lack of it.
A kind of love to the cheerful little stream arose in my heart. It was born in a desert; but it seemed to say to itself, "I will flow, and sing, and lave my banks, till I make my desert a paradise.
The nearer persons come to each other, the greater is the room and the more are the occasions for courtesy; but just in proportion to their approach the gentleness of most men diminishes.
In the windowless tomb of a blind mother, in the dead of the night, under feeble rays of a lamp in an alabaster globe, a girl came into the darkness with a wail.
No one can say he is himself, until first he knows that he is, and then what himself is. In fact, nobody is himself, and himself is nobody.
People must believe what they can, and those who believe more must not be hard upon those who believe less. How kind is weariness sometimes! It is like the Father's hand laid a little heavy on the heart to make it still.