Lewis regards MacDonald as his “master,” but in the preface acknowledges that sometimes MacDonald’s writing is not all that great (and so, by the way, I have not read beyond these selections). MacDonald seems to me to be more of a mystic, which is not really my cup of tea — but why should every person try to cultivate faith in the same way, when we all have different minds, different strengths, different abilities?
My favorite readings:
#44: “Of what use then is the Law? To lead us to Christ, the Truth — to waken in our minds a sense of what our deepest nature, the presence, namely, of God in us, requires of us — to let us know, in part by failure, that the purest efforts of will of which we are capable cannot lift us up even to the abstaining of wrong to our neighbor.”
#49: The love of our neighbor is the only door out of the dungeon of self ….”
#91: “‘But if God is so good as you represent Him, and if He knows all that we need, and better far than we do ourselves, why should it be necessary to ask Him for anything?’ I answer, What if He knows Prayer to be the thing we need first and most? What if the main object in God’s idea of prayer be the supplying of our great, our endless need — the need of Himself? … Hunger may drive the runaway child home, and he may or may not be fed at once, but he needs his mother more than his dinner. Communion with God is the one need of the soul beyond all other need: prayer is the beginning of that communion, and some need is the motive of that prayer. … So begins a communion, a taking with God, a coming-to-one with Him, which is the sole end of prayer, yea, of existence itself in its infinite phases. We must ask that we may receive: but that we should receive what we ask in respect of our lower needs, is not God’s end in making us pray, for He could give us everything without that; to bring His child to his knee, God withhold that man may ask.”
#303: “Not one of the family had ever cared for it [“An Old Garden”] on the ground of its old-fashionedness; its preservation was owing merely to the fact that their gardener was blessed with 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 appreciate the benefits to the race that spring from honest dullness. The clever people are the ruin of everything.
#349: “Until a man has love, it is well he should have fear. So long as there are wild beast about, it is better to be afraid than to be secure.”
#354: “To trust in Him when there no need is pressing, when things seem to be going right of themselves, may be harder than when things seem going wrong.”