George MacDonald


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

Author Quotes

Let me, if I may, be ever welcomed to my room in winter by a glowing hearth, in summer by a vase of flowers; if I may not, let me think how nice they would be, and bury myself in my work. I do not think that the road to contentment lies in despising what we have not got. Let us acknowledge all good, all delight that the world holds, and be content without it.

Many a wrong and it's curing song, many a road, and many an inn, Room to roam, but only one home, for all the world to win.

No work noble or lastingly good can come of emulation any more than of greed: I think the motives are spiritually the same.

Oh the folly of any mind that would explain God before obeying Him! That would map out the character of God instead of crying, Lord, what wouldst thou have me to do?

Perhaps, indeed, the better the gift we pray for, the more time is necessary for its arrival. To give us the spiritual gift we desire, God may have to begin far back in our spirit, in regions unknown to us, and do much work that we can be aware of only in the results; for our consciousness is to the extent of our being but as the flame of the volcano to the world-gulf whence it issues; in the gulf of our unknown being God works behind our consciousness. With His holy influence, with His own presence (the one thing for which most earnestly we cry) He may be approaching our consciousness from behind, coming forward through regions of our darkness into our light, long before we begin to be aware that He is answering our request-has answered it, and is visiting His child.

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 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 sometimes wished she were good; but there are thousands of wandering ghosts who would be good if they might without taking trouble; the kind of goodness they desire would not be worth a life to hold it.

That’s a poet. I thought you said it was a boat. Stupid pet! Don’t you know what a poet it? Why, a thing to sail on the water in. Well, perhaps you’re not so far wrong. Some poets do carry people over the sea... A poet is a man who is glad of something, and tries to make other people glad of it too.

The giving of the white stone with the new name is the communication of what God thinks about the man to the man. It is the divine judgment, the solemn holy doom of the righteous man, the “Come, thou blessed,” spoken to the individual. . . . The true name is one which expresses the character, the nature, the meaning of the person who bears it. It is the man’s own symbol -his soul’s picture, in a word-the sign which belongs to him and to no one else. Who can give a man this, his own name? God alone. For no one but God sees what the man is. … It is only when the man has become his name that God gives him the stone with the name upon it, for than first can he understand what his name signifies. It is the blossom, the perfection, the completeness, that determines the name: and God foresees that from the first because He made it so: but the tree of the soul, before its blossom comes, cannot understand what blossom it is to bear and could not know what the word meant, which, in representing its own unarrived completeness, named itself. Such a name cannot be given until the man is the name. God’s name for a man must be the expression of His own idea of the man, that being whom He had in His thought when he began to make the child, and whom He kept in His thought through the long process of creation that went to realize the idea. To tell the name is to seal the success-to say “In thee also I am well pleased.”

The notion of suffering as an offset for sin, the foolish idea that a man by suffering borne may get out from under the hostile claim to which his wrong-doing has subjected him, comes first of all, I think, from the satisfaction we feel when wrong comes to grief. Why do we feel this satisfaction? Because we hate wrong, but, not being righteous ourselves, more or less hate the wronger as well as his wrong, hence are not only righteously pleased to behold the law's disapproval proclaimed in his punishment, but unrighteously pleased with his suffering, because of the impact upon us of his wrong. In this way the inborn justice of our nature passes over to evil. It is no pleasure to God, as it so often is to us, to see the wicked suffer. To regard any suffering with satisfaction, save it be sympathetically with its curative quality, comes of evil, is inhuman because undivine, is a thing God is incapable of. His nature is always to forgive, and just because he forgives, he punishes. Because God is so altogether alien to wrong, because it is to him a heart-pain and trouble that one of his little ones should do the evil thing, there is, I believe, no extreme of suffering to which, for the sake of destroying the evil thing in them, he would not subject them. A man might flatter, or bribe, or coax a tyrant; but there is no refuge from the love of God; that love will, for very love, insist upon the uttermost farthing.

The two pillars of 'political correctness' are: (a) willful ignorance (b) a steadfast refusal to face the truth.

There is an aching that is worse than any pain.

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