Mondays with MacDonald (on hope and doubt)

“Thou doubtest because thou lovest the truth. Some would willingly believe life but a phantasm, if only it might for ever afford them a world of pleasant dreams: thou art not of such! Be content for a while not to know surely. The hour will come, and that ere long, when, being true, thou shalt behold the very truth, and doubt will be forever dead. Scarce, then, wilt thou be able to recall the features of the phantom. Thou wilt then know that which thou canst not now dream. Thou hast not yet looked the Truth in the face, hast as yet at best but seen him through a cloud. That which thou seest not, and never didst see save in a glass darkly – that which, indeed, never can be known save by its innate splendour shining straight into pure eyes – that thou canst not but doubt, and art blameless in doubting until thou seest it face to face, when thou wilt no longer be able to doubt it. But to him who has once seen even a shadow only of the truth, and, even but hoping he has seen it when it is present no longer, tries to obey it – to him the real vision, the Truth himself, will come, and depart no more, but abide with him for ever.”

by George MacDonald
from Lilith

H/T Dover Beach

(paraphrase below the fold)

You doubt because you love the truth. Some would willingly believe life is nothing but a phantasm, if it would only afford them a world of pleasant dreams forever: you are not such a person! Be content for a while not to know with certainty. The hour will come, and that before long, when because you are true you will behold the very truth, and doubt will be forever dead. Hardly will you then be able to recall the features of the phantom. Then you will know what you cannot even dream now. You have not yet looked the Truth in the face; so far you have seen him through a cloud at best. What you do not see, and never did see except in a glass darkly – what, in fact, can never be known except by its innate splendor shining straight into pure eyes – that you cannot help doubting, and are blameless in doubting until you see it face to face, when you will no longer be able to doubt it. But to him who has once seen even only a shadow of the truth, and, even if he is left hoping that he actually saw it once it is no longer present, tries to obey it – to him the real vision, the Truth himself, will come, and depart no more, but abide with him forever.

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