and more than 1300 quotes-arranged topically as: The work of the
Father, the work of the Son, God's revelation in nature, Practical
faith, Spiritual proverbs, and Life observations-are found in
Wisdom To Live By, a new anthology of quotes by George
MacDonald. Order information in Availability
and Ordering Information.
To Live By From George MacDonald
The Person and Life of Jesus-
The Work of the Son
CHRIST is the blossom of humanity, so the blossom of every
man is the Christ perfected in him.
SISTERS, have you found our King? There he is, kissing little
children and saying they are like God.
ROSE at once to the height of his being, set himself down
on the throne of his nature, in the act of subjecting himself
to the will of the Father as his only good, the only reason
for his existence.
MADE HIMSELF what he is by deathing himself into the will
of the eternal Father-thus plunging into the fountain of
his own life, the everlasting Fatherhood, and taking the
Godhead of the Son.
KNOW OF NO OTHER WAY of knowing that there is a God but
that which reveals what he is-and that way is Jesus Christ
as he revealed himself on earth, and as he is revealed afresh
to every heart that seeks to know the truth about him.
IS JUST LIKE JESUS, only greater yet, for Jesus said so.
OBEY JESUS is to ascend to the pinnacle of my being.
there are those who would have us love Christ for protecting
us from God, instead of leading us to God-the one home of
safety. They imagine justice and love dwelling in eternal
opposition in the bosom of eternal unity.
BOND OF THE UNIVERSE, the chain that holds it together,
the one active unity, the harmony of things, is the devotion
of the Son to the Father. It is the life of the universe.
BELIEF IN JESUS CHRIST-however small-is far better
than any amount of belief about him.
LORD was, is, and ever shall be divinely childlike. Childhood
belongs to the divine nature.
RELIGIOUS TEACHERS have not taught Christ, but taught about
Christ. More eager after credible theory than after doing
the truth, they have speculated in a condition of heart in
which it was impossible they could understand. They have presumed
to explain a Christ whom years and years of obedience could
alone have made them able to comprehend.
FOLLOW JESUS is to be learning of him, to think his thoughts,
to use his judgments, to see things as he sees them, to
feel things as he feels them, to be of the same heart, soul,
and mind, as he is.
AND THE FATHER ARE ONE," is the center-truth of the universe.
And the encircling truth is, "That they also may be one
UNDERSTAND the words of our Lord is the business of life.
For it is the main road to the understanding of the Word
LORD KNOWS what men need; they know only what they want.
They want happiness without the cost. They want ease. He
knows they need purity.
LOVE OF THE SON takes action, it creates, in self-abjuration,
in the death of self as motive.
A MAN OR WOMAN truly and perfectly says with Jesus, and
as Jesus said it, "Thy will be done," he closes the everlasting
life-circle. The life of the Father and the Son flow through
him; he is part of the divine organism. Then is the prayer
of the Lord in him fulfilled.
To Live By From George MacDonald
Revelation In Nature
IS because God thinks it into being.
IS NOT A GOD that hides himself, but a God who made all
that he might reveal himself.
CAN BE THE PRINCIPLE which, in the boldest, most lawless,
fantastically chaotic, apparently capricious work of nature,
always keeps it beautiful? The beauty of holiness must be
at the heart of it somehow.
ALL GOD'S WORKS the laws of beauty are wrought out in vanishing
portrayals, in birth and death. In these there is no hoarding,
but an everfresh creating, and eternal flow of life from
the heart of God.
SO-CALLED LAWS are the waving of God's garments, waving
so because he is thinking and loving and walking inside
IN ANYTHING that God has made, in the glory of it, be it
sky or flower or human face, we see the glory of God, there
a true imagination is beholding a truth of God.
GOD IS SO FREE FROM STAIN, so loving, so unselfish, so good,
so altogether what he wants us to be, so holy, therefore
all his works declare him in beauty. His fingers can touch
nothing but to mold it into loveliness, and even the play
of his elements is in grace and tenderness of form.
IS THE TEMPLE OF NATURE and not the temple of the church,
the things made by the hands of God and not the things made
by the hands of men, that afford the truest of symbols of
NATURE SPEAKS, like the flower, messages from God, the Father
of the universe.
IS GOD. The earth underneath us is his hand upholding us;
the waters are in the hollow of it. Every spring-fountain
of gladness about us is his making and his delight. He tends
us and cares for us; he is close to us, breathing into our
nostrils the breath of life, and breathing into our spirit
thoughts that make us look up and recognize the love and
care around us.
THE FREEDOM OF GOD in his sunsets-never a second like one
which is passed! See the freedom in his moons and skies,
in the ever-changing solid earth!- all moving by no dead
law, but in the harmony of the vital law of liberty.
BEAUTIFUL is but a bit of love frozen.
FACT IN NATURE is a revelation of God.
LOVELY SIGHTS tend to keep the soul pure, to lift the heart
up to God.
MAN WHO, in harmony with nature, attempts the discovery
of more of her meanings, is just searching out the things
CLOUDS RISE from stagnant bogs and pools, others from the
wide, clean, large ocean. But either kind, thank God, will
serve the angels to come down by.
THE SNOW that fell on the black winding river vanished,
as death and hell shall one day vanish in the fire of God.
BEAUTIFUL THINGS around us are the expressions of God's
MUST BE TRUTH in the scent of the pinewood; someone must
EXISTS A MYSTERY in the world, and in all the looks of it-a
mystery because of a meaning. There is a jubilance in every
sunrise, a sober sadness in every sunset. There is a whispering
of strange secrets in the wind of the twilight, and an unknown
bliss in the song of the lark.
To Live By From George MacDonald
IN JESUS CHRIST is to learn his ways by going and doing
them, not trying to understand them first, or doing anything
else whatever with them first than obeying them.
FAITH REQUIRED OF US is faith in a person, and not in the
truest of statements concerning anything, even concerning
is the code of true faith: can something be done?
If so, where is to be found the first opportunity to do
ANYONE is desirous of spreading the truth, let him apply
himself to the doing of it. Not obeying the truth, he is
doubly a liar who pretends to preach it.
in its simplest, truest, mightiest form, is-to do God's
will in the one thing revealing itself at the moment as
duty. The faith that works miracles is an inferior faith
to this-and not what the old theologians call a saving faith.
WE DO the will of God, eternal life is ours.
THE OBEDIENCE of Jesus to the Father. He did not give the
commands, he obeyed them.
cast your idol into the furnace. Melt your mammon down,
coin him up, make God's money of him, and send him out to
do God's work. Make of him cups to carry the gift of God,
the water of life, through the world.
in the commonest duties that fall to him, does as the Father
would have him do, bears his yoke along with Jesus; and
the Father takes his help for the redemption of the world.
SERVICE the Lord requires is not done in any church. He
will not say to you, "You never went to church: depart from
me, I do not know you." But he will say, "Inasmuch as you
never helped one of my Father's children, you have done
nothing for me."
CAN LIVE in no way but that in which Jesus lived. That way
is to give up our life. This is the one supreme action of
life possible to us.
WAS NOT for our understanding, but our will, that Christ
WHO DOES that which he sees, shall understand. He who is
set upon understanding rather than doing, shall go on stumbling
and mistaking and speaking foolishness.
CHOOSING AND OBEYING the truth, a man becomes the true son
of the Father of lights.
WHO LIVE as Jesus lived-by obedience to the Father- have
a share in their own making.
BUSINESS is not to think correctly, but to live truly. Then
first will there be a possibility of our thinking correctly.
IS OBEDIENCE; theory, I know not what.
CHRIST has a right to our absolute obedience.
PUT OFF OBEYING him until we find a credible theory concerning
him is to set aside the medicine we know it our duty to
drink for the study of the various schools of therapy.
TRUE DISCIPLE shall always know what he ought to do, though
not necessarily what another ought to do.
TEACHER should strive to make others think as he thinks,
but to lead them to the living Truth, to the Master himself,of
whom alone they can learn anything, who will make them in
themselves know what is true by the very seeing of it.
HIM WHO OBEYS, and thus opens the doors of his heart to
receive the eternal gift, God gives the Spirit of his Son,
the Spirit of himself.
To Live By From George MacDonald
is the opener of eyes.
PROPORTION TO OUR CARE about our own well-being is our capacity
diminished to understand and welcome the care of the Father.
IS ONLY IN GOD that the soul has room.
IS NO STRENGTH in unbelief.
ALONE holds wide the door for the entrance of the spirit.
MUST SIMPLY OBEY the voice in our ears, and take the thing
BEGINNING IS SMALL, and every beginning is a creation.
TRUE ACTION clears the spring of right feeling and lets
their waters rise and flow.
IS ATHEISM and the barrier to all growth.
ARE CHRIST'S NAPKINS to wipe off the sin.
TRUTH must be accompanied by some corresponding act.
MAY SPRING FROM LIFE, but never life from theory.
IS NO SALVATION in correct opinions, neither is there damnation
in wrong opinions.
REQUIRES that sin should be put an end to.
PATH ACROSS THE GULF that divides right from wrong is not
the fire, but repentance.
KNOW THAT OUR FAITH IS WEAK is the first step toward its
ARE THE MESSENGERS of the Living One to rouse the honest
heart. They are the first knock at our door of things that
are not yet, but have to be, understood.
THE WILL once begins to aspire toward godliness, it will
soon find that action must precede feeling.
PURE EYE for an honest perspective of another's viewpoint
can only accompany the loving heart.
CAN BE KNOWN except what is true.
IS GOOD, as death is good. But neither is life.
MOST PRECIOUS THING to a human soul is every other human
ARE THINGS. And things in general are very apt to prove
hostile to the better life.
THOSE WHO POSSESS THEIR SOULS in patience come the heavenly
THE UNTRUTHFUL MIND the false can seem to be true.
THERE IS ANYTHING TO LOVE, there is beauty in some form.
THE MISERY IN THE WORLD comes from trying to look, instead
of trying to be, what one is not.
FIND THE TRUTH, a man or woman must be true.
have done more to hide the Gospel of Christ than any of
CONDITION which, of declension, would indicate a devil may,
of growth, indicate a saint.
LOW THEOLOGIES, hell is invariably the deepest truth, and
the love of God is not so deep as hell.
BUSINESS OF LIFE is not to get as much as you can, but to
do justly, and love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.
To Live By From George MacDonald
ABSTRACT TRUTH held by purest insight can make a man free.
But the truth done, the truth loved, the truth lived, that
is the truth that makes him free.
MOST DISCUSSIONS, each person has some point to maintain,
and his object is to justify his own thesis and disprove
his neighbor's. He may have originally adopted his thesis
because of some sign of truth in it, but his mode of supporting
it is generally to block up every cranny in his soul at
which more truth might enter.
AND PRUDENT RELIGIOUS MEN, careful to make the words of
his messengers rhyme with their own conclusions, interpret
the great heart of God, not by their own hearts, but by
their intellects. Then, postponing the obedience that alone
can give power to the understanding, they press upon men's
minds their own low interpretations, instead of by their
own example impressing the doing of that will upon their
IS A CHILDHOOD into which we have to grow, just as there
is a childhood which we must leave behind. One is a childishness
from which but few of those who are counted wisest among
men have freed themselves. The other is a child-likeness,
which is the highest gain of humanity.
WE FORGIVE our neighbor, in flows the forgiveness of God's
forgiveness to us. For God to withhold his forgiveness from
the one who will not forgive his neighbor is love as well
as necessity. If God said, "I forgive you," to a man who
hated his brother, what would it mean to him? How would
the man interpret it? Would it not meant to him, "You may
go on hating. I do not mind it. You have had great provocation,
and are justified in your hate." No, the hater must be delivered
from the hell of his hate, that God's child should be made
the loving child that he meant him to be.
ARE SO BUSY understanding with their intellects that they
miss the better understanding of thought of a thing that
they miss the thing itself-whose possession, not its thought,
MANY WELL-MEANING PEOPLE with small natures, theology must
be like a map-with plenty of lines in it. They cannot trust
their house on the high tablelands because they cannot see
the outlines bounding the land. It is not small enough for
them. They cannot take it in. Such people, one would think,
can hardly be satisfied with creation, seeing there is no
line of division anywhere in it.
GOD DRAWS LINES, they are pure lines, without breadth and
consequently invisible to mortal eyes, not walls of separation
such as many Christians are fond of constructing.
THE DISCIPLINE, all the pain of the world exists for the
sake of this-that we may come to choose the good.
MANY burdened souls are there, who have not an idea of the
power that lies in God's forgiveness tocleanse their consciousness
from the defilement of what they have done. Most would rather
excuse than confess.
A MAN does not know that his heart hungers for God, it is
because the unfaithful self, a would-be monarch, has usurped
the consciousness-the carnal man, almost the demon-man,
is uppermost, not the Christ-man. If ever the true cry of
the heart reaches that self, it calls it childish, and tries
to trample it out. It does not know that a child crying
to God is mightier than a warrior armed with steel.
MEN WHO IMPRESS the world as the mightiest are those often
who can the least-never those who can the most in
their natural kingdom; generally those whose frontiers lie
openest to the inroads of temptation, whose atmosphere is
most subject to moody changes, who, while perhaps they possess
the power to dictate laws to a nation, can utter no decree
of smallest potency as to how things shall be within themselves.
PEOPLE SEEK ADVICE it is too often in the hope of finding
the advisor side with their second familiar self instead
of their awful first self of which they know so little.
GREATEST FACT OF ALL is that we are bound to obey the truth,
and that to the full extent of our knowledge thereof, however
little that may be. This obligation acknowledged
and obeyed, the road is open to all truth-and the
MAN'S ONE CLAIM on manhood is that he can call upon God-not
the God of any theology, right or wrong, but the God out
of whose heart he came and in whose heart he is. This is
his highest power-that which constitutes his original likeness
TRULY WISE talk little about religion, and are not given
to taking sides on doctrinal issues. When they hear people
advocating or opposing the claims of this or that party
in the church, they turn away with a smile such as men yield
to the talk of children. They have no time, they would say,
for that kind of thing. They have enough to do in trying
to faithfully practice what is beyond dispute.