MacDonald (as selected by Lewis)

That it be obedience to God is the key. There are times in scriptures when even just believing or trusting seems to be the work that God demands. But faith will always be known by its works. Our Lord seemed to be unwavering about that. Even to the point of insisting that you will never get salt water from a fresh spring, or vice versa … a particular teaching that I really struggle over because of the harsh judgmentalism that would seem to necessarily follow.

(263) Love

Now hate keeps its object present even more than the opposite passion.
Love makes everything lovely; hate concentrates itself on the one thing

These quotes drawn from GM’s “Alec Forbes ” various volumes - Ch. 43.


(264) A False Method

But the secret place of the Most High will not be entered after this fashion; and Thomas felt that he was shut out. It is not by driving away our brother that we can be alone with God. Thomas’s plaid could not isolate him with his Maker, for communion with God is never isolation. In such a mood, the chamber with the shut door shuts out God too, and one is left alone with himself, which is the outer darkness.

These quotes drawn from GM’s “Alec Forbes ” various volumes - Ch. 45.


Are you perhaps thinking of A Grief Observed?

I think the Father’s love is greater than that. My view of the judgment is that we will all find that we have been put first in line, yet that when we are done so also will everyone else be – and none will have heard what any other had to say or face.

Lewis once remarked that our personal libraries in heaven would be made up of those books that we loaned out and when they weren’t returned didn’t demand them back but forgave.


I like that.

I may not be fully understanding that last bit. But I also think that somehow … we will be made aware of the suffering another has felt (especially any suffering I caused) so that there can be atonement made and reconciliation and then rejoicing together to follow. I think (hope) that we would be given special insight and empathy beyond what we were capable of having here on earth so that our former gnawed bones of resentment will melt away as we are made aware of just what our brother or sister was facing in life that led them to be that way - what hurts and evils from others they had lived and died with in their own turn.

At least that’s the hope that I see with Jesus’ statement that “there is nothing hidden that will not be revealed.”


(265) Assimilation

Had Alec then seen his own face, he would have seen upon it the sneer that he hated so upon that of Beauchamp. For all wickedness tends to destroy individuality, and declining natures assimilate as they sink.

These quotes drawn from GM’s “Alec Forbes ” various volumes - Ch. 69.


Think of it as private confession – though in reverse.

I think I’m catching your original context better now. Fresh wounds certainly aren’t going to be unnecessarily re-opened and all the pain caused re-lived (or experienced for the first time as somebody learns anew some evil or ugly thought that was expressed or thought about them! - Lord help us all!) But it seems to me necessary that, to the extent that any relationship is held hostage by such gangrenous enmity festering below some surface - that that will have to be brought into the light of treatment and dealt with in whatever way necessary so that the relationship can be fully restored - all parties afterward in full and joyful fellowship with each other.

(266) Looking

“What are ye luikin’ for, auntie?”

“Naething. Nae for you, …”

“… But ye was luikin’ for somebody, auntie.

Na. I was only jist luikin’.

Even Annie did not then know that it was the soul’s hunger, the vague sense of a need which nothing but the God of human faces, the God of the morning and of the starful night, the God of love and self-forgetfulness, can satisfy, that sent her money-loving, poverty-stricken, pining, grumbling old aunt out staring towards the east. It is this formless idea of something at hand that keeps men and women striving to tear from the bosom of the world the secret of their own hopes. How little they know what they look for in reality is their God! This is that for which their heart and their flesh cry out.

Lead, lead me on, my Hopes. I know that ye are true and not vain. Vanish from my eyes day after day, but arise in new forms. I will follow your holy deception; -follow till ye have brought me to the feet of my Father in Heaven, where I shall find you all with folded wings spangling the sapphire dusk whereon stands His throne, which is our home.

These quotes drawn from GM’s “Alec Forbes ” various volumes - Ch. 91.


I enjoy Forbes :slight_smile: Thank you.


I heard that as an argument for Purgatory from a Roman Catholic priest.

But right there is a problem with the argument!

My “private confession” concept would have to be modified, I suppose, perhaps by letting each of us experience all the pain we caused others – though if a psychiatrist I knew is right, that could result in mass insanity because the human psyche is not strong enough to face all that.

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Well; a resurrected (transformed) body includes a transformed mind too I suppose!

I don’t really pretend to understand all that. It’s just my hopes talking - my excitement about Christ. I just have to hope that all the good kinds of relationship repair and kinship we already may get some experience with now is but a foretaste of so much more of all that will be good in a renewed creation.


Good point.

For a long time I thought I had lost that. It’s thanks to several Orthodox speakers and Dr. Michael Heiser that I have a new trace of it – there are days when one of them will make a point that makes me think I never really heard the Gospel before.


(267) Progress

I am now getting old—faster and faster. I cannot help my gray hairs, nor the wrinkles that gather so slowly yet ruthlessly; no, nor the quaver that will come in my voice, not the sense of being feeble in the knees, even when I walk only across the floor of my study. But I have not got used to age yet. I do not FEEL one atom older than I did at three-and-twenty. Nay, to tell all the truth, I feel a good deal younger.—For then I only felt that a man had to take up his cross; whereas now I feel that a man has to follow Him; and that makes an unspeakable difference.—When my voice quavers, I feel that it is mine and not mine; that it just belongs to me like my watch, which does not go well-now, though it went well thirty years ago—not more than a minute out in a month. And when I feel my knees shake, I think of them with a kind of pity, as I used to think of an old mare of my father’s of which I was very fond when I was a lad, and which bore me across many a field and over many a fence, but which at last came to have the same weakness in her knees that I have in mine; and she knew it too, and took care of them, and so of herself, in a wise equine fashion. These things are not me … and, please God, shall soon have better. For it is not a pleasant thing for a young man, or a young woman either, I venture to say, to have an old voice, and a wrinkled face, and weak knees, and gray hair, or no hair at all. And if any moral Philistine, as our queer German brothers over the Northern fish-pond would call him, say that this is all rubbish, for that we ARE old, I would answer: “Of all children how can the children of God be old?”

As found in MacDonald’s “Annals of a Quiet Neighborhood” Chapter 1.


Yesterday at one point my thoughts strayed to thinking about work I’ve done in the past and found myself thinking that I may now be mature enough to be a responsible young teenager. Sadly I don’t get to switch to be one, I’m stuck in an older body I don’t think I deserve.

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(268) Providence

People talk about special providences. I believe in the providences, but not in the specialty. I do not believe that God lets the thread of my affairs go for six days, and on the seventh evening takes it up for a moment. The so-called special providences are no exception to the rule—they are common to all men at all moments. But it is a fact that God’s care is more evident in some instances of it than in others to the dim and often bewildered vision of humanity. Upon such instances men seize and call them providences. It is well that they can; but it would be gloriously better if they could believe that the whole matter is one grand providence.

As found in MacDonald’s “Annals of a Quiet Neighborhood” Chapter 1.


Heartily agree.

(269) Ordinariness

And over all, the sun hung in the sky, pouring down life; shining on the roots of the willows at the bottom of the stream; lighting up the black head of the water-rat as he hurried across to the opposite bank; glorifying the rich green lake of the grass; and giving to the whole an utterance of love and hope and joy, which was, to him who could read it, a more certain and full revelation of God than any display of power in thunder, in avalanche, in stormy sea. Those with whom the feeling of religion is only occasional, have it most when the awful or grand breaks out of the common; the meek who inherit the earth, find the God of the whole earth more evidently present—I do not say more present, for there is no measuring of His presence—more evidently present in the commonest things. That which is best He gives most plentifully, as is reason with Him. Hence the quiet fulness of ordinary nature; hence the Spirit to them that ask it.

As found in MacDonald’s “Annals of a Quiet Neighborhood” Chapter 3.

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(270) Forgiveness

And I prayed my God that He would make me able to speak good common heavenly sense to my people, and forgive me for feeling so cross and proud towards the unhappy old lady—for I was sure she was not happy—and make me into a rock which swallowed up the waves of wrong in its great caverns, and never threw them back to swell the commotion of the angry sea whence they came. Ah, what it would be actually to annihilate wrong in this way!—to be able to say, it shall not be wrong against me, so utterly do I forgive it! How much sooner, then, would the wrong-doer repent, and get rid of the wrong from his side also! But the painful fact will show itself, not less curious than painful, that it is more difficult to forgive small wrongs than great ones. Perhaps, however, the forgiveness of the great wrongs is not so true as it seems. For do we not think it is a fine thing to forgive such wrongs, and so do it rather for our own sakes than for the sake of the wrongdoer? It is dreadful not to be good, and to have bad ways inside one.

As found in MacDonald’s “Annals of a Quiet Neighborhood” Chapter 5.


Answers to prayer are special providences. It’s too bad old George Mac apparently was not familiar with another George M of his era, the godly man George Müller. The former would have had a way different perspective on prayer and providence if he had been. And then there are Maggie Eriksson and Glenn Morton, to name just two known here who know the reality of God’s interventions. (There might be some more I could name. :grin:)

That reply made my day. :slightly_smiling_face:

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Perhaps so! I get the feeling, though, that GM was trying to elevate the omnipresence of God’s providence more than trying to denigrate instances of it that are special and precious to us. Besides … how do you know that GM wasn’t familiar with the other GM? It looks like their lives would have overlapped.