I can’t help but feel I may be adding nothing but more confusion for you here. But I will try, and will certainly reference a couple Macdonald texts for you to read directly. But first, you should know that what I attributed to Macdonald, I still put into my own words. The ideas were his - and most of the words were mine - but with a few phrases I borrowed from him. The passage I was most drawing from did not actually use the word “monster”. But Macdonald does use that word elsewhere, and he follows the customary usage of it as speaking of something that is (or seems) large, powerful, scary, and evil. It is almost always used as a metaphor. Let me know if you want to know more about metaphors.
Since you are curious about that very word: ‘monster’, I did find a paragraph of Macdonalds making use of that very term: I bolded it in the text below.
The moral philosopher who regards duties only as facts of his system; nay, even the man who rewards them as truths, essential realities ofhis humanity, but goes no farther, is essentially a liar, a man of untruth. He is a man indeed, but not a true man. He is a man inpossibility, but not a real man yet. The recognition of these things is the imperative obligation to fulfil them. Not fulfilling these relations, the man is undoing the right of his own existence,destroying [his very reason for being], making of himself a monster, a live reason why he should not live, for nothing on those terms could ever have begun to be. His presence is a claim upon his creator for destruction.
However, if you are actually curious more about the content of what I had written in a post above, I include more of Macdonald’s writing below from his sermon titled “Justice” which was where I actually got those ideas from. Even though he didn’t use the word “monster” below, I hope you will see where that very idea comes from; I bolded a sentence near the end to help you zero in on that bit.
If it be asked how, if it be false, the doctrine of substitution can have been permitted to remain so long an article of faith to so many, I answer, On the same principle on which God took up and made use of the sacrifices men had, in their lack of faith, invented as a way of pleasing him. Some children will tell lies to please the parents that hate lying. They will even confess to having done a wrong they have not done, thinking their parents would like them to say they had done it, because they teach them to confess. God accepted men’s sacrifices until he could get them to see–and with how many has he yet not succeeded, in the church and out of it!–that he does not care for such things.
‘But,’ again it may well be asked, ‘whence then has sprung the
undeniable potency of that teaching?’
I answer, From its having in it a notion of God and his Christ, poor indeed and faint, but, by the very poverty and untruth in its presentation, fitted to the weakness and unbelief of men, seeing it was by men invented to meet and ease the demand made upon their own weakness and unbelief. Thus the leaven spreads. The truth is there. It is Christ the glory of God. But the ideas that poor slavish souls breed concerning this glory the moment the darkness begins to disperse, is quite another thing. Truth is indeed too good for men to believe; they must dilute it before they can take it; they must dilute it before they dare give it. They must make it less true before they can believe it enough to get any good of it. Unable to believe in the love of the Lord Jesus Christ, they invented a mediator in his mother, and so were able to approach a little where else they had stood away; unable to believe in the forgivingness of their father in heaven, they invented a way to be forgiven that should not demand of him so much; which might make it right for him to forgive; which should save them from having to believe downright in the tenderness of his father-heart, for that they found impossible. They thought him bound to punish for the sake of punishing, as an offset to their sin; they could not believe in clear forgiveness; that did not seem divine; it needed itself to be justified; so they invented for its justification a horrible injustice, involving all that was bad in sacrifice, even human sacrifice. They invented a satisfaction for sin which was an insult to God. He sought no satisfaction, but an obedient return to the Father. What satisfaction was needed he made himself in what he did to cause them to turn from evil and go back to him. The thing was too simple for complicated unbelief and the arguing spirit. Gladly would I help their followers to loathe such thoughts of God; but for that, they themselves must grow better men and women. While they are capable of being satisfied with them, there would be no advantage in their becoming intellectually convinced that such thoughts were wrong. I would not speak a word to persuade them of it. Success would be worthless. They would but remain what they were–children capable of thinking meanly of their father. When the heart recoils, discovering how horrible it would be to have such an unreality for God, it will begin to search about and see whether it must indeed accept such statements concerning God; it will search after a real God by whom to hold fast, a real God to deliver them from the terrible idol.
If you find this confusing or disturbing, then I can do my best to try to help explain Macdonald’s thoughts here, but I’m also thinking it might not have been a good idea to dump all this on you and may think better of it yet. If it upsets or disturbs you, then I’d advise just to let it go for now.