George MacDonald


Scottish Author, Poet and Minister known for his fairy tales and fantasy works

Author Quotes

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.

The seed dies into a new life, and so does man.

There is a chamber also (O God, humble and accept my speech)-a chamber in God Himself, into which none can enter but the one, the individual, the peculiar man-out of which chamber that man has to bring revelation and strength for his brethren. This is that for which he was made-to reveal the secret things of the Father.

These relations are facts of man’s nature. … He is so constituted as to understand them at first more than he can love them, with the resulting advantage of having thereby the opportunity of choosing them purely because they are true: so doing he chooses to love them, and is enabled to love them in the doing, which alone can truly reveal them to him and make the loving

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.

It may be said of the body in regard of sleep as well as in regard of death, “It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power... No one can deny the power of the wearied body to paralyze the soul; but I have a correlate theory which I love, and which I expect to find true-that, while the body wearies the mind, it is the mind that restores vigor to the body, and then, like the man who has built him a stately palace, rejoices to dwell in it. I believe that, if there be a living, conscious love at the heart of the universe, the mind, in the quiescence of its consciousness in sleep, comes into a less disturbed contact with its origin, the heart of the creation; whence gifted with calmness and strength for itself, it grows able to impart comfort and restoration to the weary frame. The cessation of labor affords but the necessary occasion; makes it possible, as it were, for the occupant of an outlying station in the wilderness to return to his Father’s house for fresh supplies... The child-soul goes home at night, and returns in the morning to the labors of the school.

Let us endeavor to see plainly what we mean when we use the word justice, and whether we mean what we ought to mean when we use it--especially with reference to God. Let us come nearer to knowing what we ought to understand by justice, that is, the justice of God; for his justice is the live, active justice, giving existence to the idea of justice in our minds and hearts. Because he is just, we are capable of knowing justice; it is because he is just, that we have the idea of justice so deeply imbedded in us. What do we oftenest mean by justice? Is it not the carrying out of the law, the infliction of penalty assigned to offence? By a just judge we mean a man who administers the law without prejudice, without favor or dislike; and where guilt is manifest, punishes as much as, and no more than, the law has in the case laid down. It may not be that justice has therefore been done. The law itself may be unjust, and the judge may mistake; or, which is more likely, the working of the law may be foiled by the parasites of law for their own gain. But even if the law be good, and thoroughly administered, it does not necessarily follow that justice is done.

Many feelings are simply too good to last--using the phrase not in the unbelieving sense in which it is generally used, but to express the fact that intensity and endurance cannot coexist in the human frame. But the virtue of a mood depends by no means on its immediate presence. Like any other experience, it may be believed in, and, in its absence, which leaves the mind free to contemplate it, works even more good than its presence

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.

Once, as I passed by a cottage, there came out a lovely fairy child, with two wondrous toys, one in each hand. The one was the tube through which the fairy-gifted poet looks when he beholds the same thing everywhere; the other that through which he looks when he combines into new forms of loveliness those images of beauty which his own choice has gathered from all regions wherein he has travelled. Round the child’s head was an aureole of emanating rays. As I looked at him in wonder and delight, round crept from behind me the something dark, and the child stood in my shadow. Straightway he was a commonplace boy, with a rough broad-brimmed straw hat, through which brim the sun shone from behind. The toys he carried were a multiplying-glass and a kaleidoscope. I sighed and departed.

Philosophy is really homesickness.

She got very tired, so tired that even her toys could no longer amuse her. You would wonder at that if I had time to describe to you one half of the toys she had. But then, you wouldn't have the toys themselves, and that makes all the difference: you can't get tired of a thing before you have it.

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.

The former are content to have the light cast upon their way: the latter will have it in their eyes and cannot; if they had, it would blind them. For them to know more would be their worse condemnation. They are not fit to know more, more shall not be given them yet…. “You choose the dark; you shall stay in the dark till the terrors that dwell in the dark affray you, and cause you to cry out.” God puts a seal upon the will of man; that seal is either His great punishment or His mighty favor: “Ye love the darkness, abide in the darkness”: “O woman great is thy faith: be it done unto thee even as thou wilt!”

The necessary unlikeness between the creator and the created holds within it the equally necessary likeness of the thing made to him who makes it, and so of the work of the made to the work of the maker... The imagination of man is made in the image of the imagination of God.

The trees bathed their great heads in the waves of the morning, while their roots were planted deep in gloom; save where on the borders of the sunshine broke against their stems, or swept in long streams through their avenues, washing with brighter hue all the leaves over which it flowed; revealing the rich brown of the decayed leaves and fallen pine-cones, and the delicate greens of the long grasses and tiny forests of moss that covered the channel over which it passed in the motionless rivers of light.

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.

They are not the best students who are most dependent on books. What can be got out of them is at best only material; a man must build his house for himself.

Thy will be done. I yield up everything. 'The life is more than meat' -- then more than health; tThe body more than raiment' -- then more than wealth; the hairs I made not, thou art numbering. Thou art my life--I the brook, thou the spring. Because thine eyes are open, I can see; because thou art thyself, 'tis therefore I am me.

It may seem strange that one with whom I had held so little communion should have so engrossed my thoughts, but benefits conferred awaken love in some minds, as surely as benefits received in others.

Let us understand very plainly, that a being whose essence was only power would be such a negation of the divine that no righteous worship could be offered him.

Men who would rather receive salvation from God than God their salvation.

Not one of the family had ever cared for it on the ground of its old-fashionedness; its preservation was owing merely to the fact that their gardener was blessed with a wholesome stupidity rendering him incapable of unlearning what his father, who had been gardener there before him, had had marvelous difficulty in teaching him. We do not half appreciate the benefits to the race that spring from honest dullness. The clever people are the ruin of everything.

One day [the prince] lost sight of his retinue in a great forest. These forests are very useful in delivering princes from their courtiers, like a sieve that keeps back the bran. Then the princes get away to follow their fortunes. In this they have the advantage of the princesses, who are forced to marry before they have had a bit of fun. I wish our princesses got lost in a forest sometimes.

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.

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Scottish Author, Poet and Minister known for his fairy tales and fantasy works